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.
Advocacy and campaigning initiatives
Refugee Ban Bill
The Committee Stage of the Refugee Ban Bill has continued in the House of Lords, with cross-party voices continuing to condemn the UK Government’s proposed measures. The Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed amendments to the Bill on human trafficking and international cooperation. You can find all proposed amendments here, and follow the Bill’s progress here.
Leaked Government documents planning for the implementation of the Bill anticipate that up to 3,000 people seeking asylum would be detained and deported every month. The BBC has also fact checked the Prime Minister’s claims in his speech yesterday about how well his Government’s immigration plan is working.
KIND UK have shared a new briefing, ‘The Illegal Migration Bill: A Timebomb for a Generation of Children’, focusing on the impact of the measures on children’s access to British citizenship, and NACCOM and Praxis have shared a joint briefing on the high risk of homelessness and destitution that the Bill poses to people claiming asylum in the UK.
#FightTheAntiRefugeeLaws resources for Refugee Week
Ahead of Refugee Week, we have updated our #FightTheAntiRefugeeLaws resources, including a new leaflet outlining the measures in the #RefugeeBanBill and the Nationality and Borders Act, a ‘write to your MP’ postcard, posters, placards and copies of the Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws Pledge. You can download print-ready versions of the resources here or get in touch with us to request resources.
Call to prevent people seeking asylum being excluded from housing safety regulations
137 organisations joined the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), RAMFEL and JCWI in calling on the UK Government to abandon plans to remove the licensing requirements for houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) used as asylum accommodation. NACCOM, Crisis, CIH, RAMFEL and JCWI have also shared joint briefings for MPs and Peers outlining that the Government’s plans would result in people seeking asylum being housed in unsafe accommodation with inadequate protections against fire and overcrowding.
Communities not camps
Amid protests against the planned arrival of the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland in the next weeks, Dorset Council has announced that it will not be taking legal action to oppose the Government’s plan. This follows an announcement by the Prime Minister that two further barges will be used to place up to 1,000 more people seeking asylum. He also said that 3,000 people would be accommodated on the military sites in Scampton and Wethersfield ‘by the autumn’.
The Guardian revealed that these barges are planned for Teesport and ‘near Liverpool’, with other locations under consideration for further barges including Tyneside, Harwich, Felixstowe and the Royal London Docks. In response to the news about Teesport, the Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council stated that ‘I am totally against the principle of housing people seeking refuge in this way… as a society, we should have a more humane way of treating people while their asylum claims are assessed.’
Yesterday, campaigners in Merseyside gathered outside an event attended by Peel Ports, owner of the port in the Wirral, calling on the company not to enter into a contract with the Home Office. A spokesperson for Peel Ports said ‘..any agreement…will require the full cooperation of local agencies…’ Coverage here and here.
You can write to your MP asking them to join the opposition to the use of barges and camps and sign the petition calling on the Government to drop the plans. Please get in touch with us if you’d like unbranded Communities Not Camps posters and placards for any local actions.
Government and parliamentary updates
Net migration and asylum stats
The latest UK migration statistics were published on 25 May, showing a net migration figure of 606,000 people in 2022, as well as a new record high of people waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, at over 172,000 people. Migration Observatory published a summary analysis of the figures.
Reports and research
UNHCR audit of UK asylum screening procedures
The UNHCR has published a comprehensive audit of the UK’s asylum intake, registration and screening procedures, which includes 28 recommendations for change.
Resources, events, jobs and training
Hope not Hate resources for refugee sector
Hope not Hate have published a suite of new resources, intended to help the migration and refugee sector and community organisers respond to the far-right threat:
Digital safety: keeping safe on social media, video events and community groups
Safety and Security: a guide for temporary asylum seeker accommodation, co-created with Safer Foundations
For security reasons, the last two resources on safeguarding for organisations and individuals working with refugees are available upon request here.
Free IRC ‘Healing Spaces’ training for community organisations and NGOs
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is offering free trauma-informed online training to community groups supporting refugees in the UK. This is a 3-part training course which covers safe spaces, community building, cultural competence, and supporting individuals as they rebuild their lives. Find out more and register your interest here.
Stand Up! Speak Out! Training Series
Stand Up! Speak Out! is a training series developed by members of Solidarity Knows No Borders. Upcoming seminars include focuses on the Rwanda policy and age assessments. You can find the full programme and register for seminars here.
Migrants’ Rights Network Words Matter Explainer
Migrants Organise Guidance on Challenging Reporting Conditions
Migrants Organise have produced updated guidance for advisers and caseworkers on challenging reporting conditions, based on the newest version of the Reporting and Offender Management policy v6.0. Migrants Organise and GMIAU have also written a piece in Free Movement on the new guidance.
JCWI and Migrants Organise Migrant Workers’ Rights leaflets
JCWI and Migrants Organise have shared new leaflets on migrant workers’ rights that can be downloaded for print.
Event: The Erosion of Human Rights Protections for Refugees in the UK
René Cassin and the Wiener Library are holding an event on 22 June at 6:30pm, exploring the UK’s attitudes and commitment to refugees over time and possibilities for change. The event is free and will be held at the Wiener Holocaust Library, London. Book your place here.
Hostile Documentary Online Screening and Q&A
City of Sanctuary are hosting an online screening on 14 June at 6pm of the award-winning documentary, Hostile, along with a live Q&A with Director Sonita Gale and poet, campaigner and Sanctuary Ambassador Loraine Masiya Mponela. Register your free place here.
Brighter Futures housing manifesto launch
Brighter Futures, a group of young people fighting for change for young migrants living in the UK, will be launching their housing manifesto, Our Home, Our Rights, at an event on 20 June at 6pm in the Museum of the Home, London.
Webinar on the far-right weaponisation of gender-based violence
Hope not Hate is hosting a webinar at 2-3:30pm on 22 June to discuss the far right’s weaponisation of gender-based violence to stoke tensions and prejudice against migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum and how it can be countered. They have also published a resource with the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Online Allegations of Gender-based Violence.
ASAP is looking for a freelance researcher to research the availability of advice on asylum support. Closing date is 11 June.
Displaced People in Action is looking for a new board member, and are particularly encouraging applications from people who have experience of the asylum system. Closing date 30 June.
Fairbeats is currently recruiting two Co-Chairs and up to three trustees. They are particularly keen to appoint people with experience of the asylum system, displacement or forced migration.
FLEX is recruiting a Research Officer. Closing date 21 June.
The Birth Partner Project is recruiting a Volunteer Coordinator. Closing date 19 June.
KRAN is recruiting a Housing Support and Caseworker. Closing date 19 June.
Safe Passage is recruiting a Digital Mobilisation Manager. Closing date 26 June.
What we’ve been reading, watching and listening to
Free Movement analyses the Home Office’s cynical use of social media
Vogue covers the ‘absolute disgrace’ of the Illegal Migration Bill’s treatment of pregnant women
Refugee Action brought refugees together to watch famous British TV moments for the first time
Paul, who is seeking asylum with his family, writes for the Guardian’s ‘Heat or Eat Diaries’ about their experiences of the cost of living crisis
IMIX has a new podcast, Un/Documented – Empowering hidden voices, speaking to people with lived experience of the asylum system