Asylum Matters advocacy update – 28 September 2022

Our fortnightly summary of ongoing advocacy initiatives, new research, government developments and useful resources. Contact us if you’d like to get this update directly into your inbox.

  1. Advocacy and campaigning initiatives

Cost of living and asylum support

Campaigners in Birmingham and in the North East have highlighted the challenges experienced by people forced to live on low levels of asylum support, and the difficulty in buying essentials as prices rise and the cost of living crisis worsens. Many similar concerns have recently been voiced elsewhere, including in this piece, which all also emphasise the impact of the Government’s effective ban on working for people seeking asylum.

Following a recent spate of misinformation in the media and on social media about the amount people receive on asylum support, FullFact has carried out a fact check to set the record straight.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the rate of asylum support payments and is expected to announce any changes in the coming months.

Calling on Local Authorities to Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws – webinar 18 October

Local Authorities have a vital role to play in joining the fight to repeal the anti-refugee laws. We have therefore created new resources, including a template motion and a template press release, to support you in calling on your Local Authority leaders to work with their communities and pledge to fight the anti-refugee laws.

Join us for an online event at 13:00-14:00 on Tuesday 18 October to come together to discuss the resources and share ideas, experiences and good practice in engaging and campaigning with Local Authorities. You can register for the event here.

You can find a webpage with all the resources here; and you can find out more about the pledge and the campaign to fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws here. If you have any questions or feedback about these resources, or if you use them to approach your Local Authority, please let us know!

Lift The Ban gathering – 2 November

The Lift The Ban campaign will hold a face-to-face gathering for coalition members in London on Wednesday 2 November. Please note that we can provide financial support to ensure expert by experience campaigners are able to attend.

Full details of the venue, timings and agenda will be shared with the Lift The Ban coalition shortly. For now, please save the date!

We hope that as many members of the coalition as possible can join us to celebrate how far we’ve come and plan our next steps towards lifting the ban on working for people seeking asylum. You can watch a short film from our last coalition gathering in March 2020 here.

Rwanda: Fill the Skies with Hope Day of Action

On 23 September, people across the country took part in Together with Refugee’s Day of Action to mark the launch of the Fill the Skies with Hope campaign, which urges the new Prime Minister to change course on the government’s policy to banish refugees to Rwanda.

Highlights included a gathering of campaigners at All Saints Church, Birmingham which Asylum Matters attended; Schools of Sanctuary across Birmingham, including St Jude’s, St Dunstan’s, and Abbey Catholic School flying hundreds of planes; and a demonstration in Bristol.

The campaign runs until 9 November 2022 and involves sending orange heart-shaped paper planes into the sky with messages to the Prime Minister, which are then sent to the PM via your MP. You can find out how to get involved here.

National Demonstration against Derwentside IRC

The next national protest against Derwentside (more commonly known as Hassockfield) Immigration Removal Centre is taking place on the 15th of October from 12pm outside Derwentside IRC (Corbridge Road, Medomsley, County Durham, DH8 6QY). Campaigners are calling for the closure of Derwentside IRC, and an end to immigration detention everywhere. You can find more information about the protest here.

  1. Home Office and Government Developments

Deportations to Albania

The Home Office has been forced to backtrack and clarify that people seeking asylum who arrive via small boats from Albania will not be subject to fast tracked deportations. This follows legal action from the charity Care4Calais.

Increased detention

The new Home Secretary is reported to be scaling up the UK Government’s use of detention centres, with a new tender issued for almost £400m to operate two sites. The plan will see the Haslar centre in Hampshire reopen, alongside pre-announced plans to reopen Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, which is the subject of strong local opposition.

  1. Reports and research

NACCOM briefing on Ending Rough Sleeping for Good

In response to the publication of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities strategy on Ending Rough Sleeping for Good, NACCOM has published a briefing on the Government’s strategy and a statement calling on the UK Government to go much further in addressing the Home Office policies that cause homelessness, including the NRPF restriction.

Newcastle City Council Report on Housing Conditions for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

A Newcastle City Council Scrutiny Task and Finish Group report on Housing Conditions for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the city has highlighted that people seeking safety who were accommodated in Newcastle hotels during lockdown were left vulnerable, isolated, and without fresh food or basic Covid protection; and that health needs were not adequately dealt with. The report has been covered by the BBC and the Chronicle.

  1. Resources, jobs, events and training

Free Movement analysis on asylum claims from Albania

Irene Tsherit, a Senior Caseworker at Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors, has published a useful piece in Free Movement questioning the UK Government’s claims that Albania is a ‘safe and prosperous country’ given the prevalence of human trafficking.

  • IMIX is recruiting for a Team Administrator, closing date is 2 October.

  • The European Network on Statelessness is recruiting a Campaigns and Community Engagement Coordinator, closing date is 4 October.

  • Safety4Sisters Manchester is recruiting for a new Director, closing date is 6 October.

  • Refugee Education UK is recruiting three Educational Mentoring Coordinators, closing date is 10 October.

  • JCORE is recruiting two full time JUMP Project Coordinators at its befriending scheme for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people. Further details can be viewed here, closing date is 12 October.

  • Right to Remain is recruiting a Legal Education Officer. Further details are here, closing date is 13 October.

  • KRAN is recruiting a Communications Coordinator, closing date is 24 October.


  1. What we’ve been reading, watching and listening to

  • The latest Expert by Experience podcast from RAS Voice and Refugee Action on Lift the Ban.

  • GMIAU’s plea to the new Home Secretary calling on her to prioritise the Windrush Compensation Scheme and reforming the asylum system.

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