Advocacy Update – 28 March 2024

Our fortnightly summary of advocacy and campaigning initiatives, new research, government developments and useful resources from across the asylum, refugee and migration sector. Contact us if you’d like to get this update directly into your inbox.

  1. Advocacy and campaigning initiatives


Last week, the Government suffered a further seven defeats in the House of Lords as peers voted in favour of seven amendments to the Safety of Rwanda Bill. Amendments included excluding victims of modern slavery from deportation to Rwanda, and permitting ministers or immigration officials to have the power to say that Rwanda is not a safe country for a particular person, or group of people. The Bill will now return to Parliament on 15 April.

New analysis from the IPPR has shown the escalating costs of the Rwanda scheme, with the UK potentially having to pay up to £230,000 per person deported under the scheme, while payments for an initial cohort of 20,000 people could reach up to £3.9bn.

Meanwhile, the Times has reported that Rwanda is insisting on a staggered start to flights, with the first flight not expected to take off until mid May at the earliest. The Times has also reported that the Government has reportedly not yet found an airline to operate the flights, and is exploring using the RAF.

Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws: new General Election resources

Asylum Matters has shared new General Election resources as part of the Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws campaign. The resources are designed to support local groups in engaging with their prospective parliamentary candidates and calling on them to repeal the #AntiRefugeeLaws and commit to building an asylum system that treats everyone with compassion and dignity. The resources include two documents:

We hope that these resources will support campaigners in reaching out to candidates and setting out the changes our communities urgently need. You can also share the resources on Twitter and Facebook.

Together with our friends at City of Sanctuary, we are also hosting a lunchtime briefing on our General Election Resources on 22 April 12:30-13:30, where we’ll talk through the new resources and discuss how to engage with prospective parliamentary candidates and call on them to defend the right to seek safety in the UK. Register your place now!

Evictions into homelessness

16 refugee and homelessness charities have written to the Home Secretary to ask that the Government increase the move on period from 28 days to at least 56 days, stagger large numbers of evictions from asylum accommodation, and commit to working with the third sector to create a properly funded transition process for those leaving asylum accommodation. Local authorities continue to sound the alarm over the number of people now rough sleeping following eviction. Andy Burnham and all 10 council leaders in Greater Manchester have written to the Home Secretary to request urgent action.

  1. Government and parliamentary updates

‘Voluntary’ returns to Rwanda

The Government has published a new version of its voluntary returns guidance that provides for people to be returned to a third country. It has been reported that the Home Office are calling people who have had their asylum claims refused to offer them ‘voluntary departure’ to Rwanda and £3000 of ‘reintegration support’. JCWI, Migrants Organise and Right to Remain have compiled advice on what to do in this situation which can be accessed here.

Consultation on OISC fee structure 

The Home Office and Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner have launched a consultation on changes to the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner’s (OISC’s) fee structure, closing 5 June. Access here.

UK HSA resources on measles in asylum accommodation

The UK Health Security Agency has produced guidance for regional health protection teams on managing an outbreak of measles in an asylum accommodation setting, as well as an action card for accommodation staff.

  1. Reports and research

Commission on the Integration of Refugees report

The Commission on the Integration of Refugees has launched their report “From Arrival to Integration: Building Communities for Refugees and for Britain”. You can find the Executive Summary of the report here. The Commission has made 16 recommendations, including allowing people seeking asylum to work after waiting for 6 months, unrestricted to the Shortage Occupation List, while those working in roles on the Shortage Occupation List are able to work from Day 1; tailored employment support; increased access to ESOL classes and the localisation of decisions, budgets and delivery. Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford and a Commissioner, has written in the Guardian about the Commission’s findings.

State of Hate 2024: Pessimism, decline, and the rising radical right  

HOPE not hate have published their 2024 edition of State of Hate, the UK’s the most comprehensive guide to the state of far-right extremism in Britain today.  State of Hate 2024: Pessimism, decline, and the rising radical right  covers a wide range of topics, including migration and asylum, including profiles of the current most active far right actors and organisations; analysis of the shifting terrain of anti-migrant activism and assessment of the unworkability of Home Office asylum accommodation. You can read the full report here and coverage is here.

MiCLU article on effectively representing Albanian clients

The Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) at Islington Law Centre has published an article in Free Movement on how to effectively represent Albanian clients in the current legal framework.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training 

Lived Experience Career Development workshops

The Refugee Council and WorkWell are running a Lived Experience Career Development project, with two upcoming workshops in April:

  • An online sharing workshop on 17 April 13.00 -15.00;
  • A face to face sharing workshop on 23 April in London, 10.00 – 13.00 at the NCVO offices.

The workshops will be an opportunity to hear the key barriers to lived experience career progression identified through the project’s sector-wide research, and to help shape what the sector could and should do to address these challenges. Please email Abi Long at [email protected] if you would like to attend one of the workshops.

Refugee Week 2024 Resources

Counterpoint Arts have shared a number of new resources for Refugee Week 2024, for which the theme is ‘Our Home’.

  • Our Home poster by Manjit Thapp
  • 9 Simple Acts (with animated GIFS that everyone is welcome to use)
  • Resources including a new high streets campaigns encouraging retail, hospitality, bookshops/ libraries and sport clubs (inc. leisure centres & gyms) to get involved and make a home away from home!
  • A recording of the recent Refugee Week conference.
Asylum Reform Initiative/Aziz Foundation Advocacy and Campaigns Fellowship

The Aziz Foundation is partnering with the Asylum Reform Initiative (ARI) to offer a twelve-month fellowship within the team behind Together With Refugees. The Advocacy and Campaigns Fellow will work with other members of the ARI core team in developing and delivering campaign, policy influencing and communications activities. You can find out more here.

IMIX Press Release Clinic 19 April

IMIX is running a Press Release Clinic on Friday 19th April from 2.30-3.30pm. The session is an opportunity to workshop a draft press release with the IMIX team. If you’d like to attend, you can register here.

New Changemakers’ Toolkit

Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) and Wikimedia UK have launched ‘The Changemakers’ Toolkit’, an open access toolkit which empowers people to campaign effectively. The kit includes three introductory modules: Introduction to changemaking, Analysing the problem and planning for Change, and Communicating for Change.

Training on impact for scale

Spring Impact is running a free 10 week virtual training for organisations who want to scale up their work on refugee inclusion. Find out more and check eligibility here, deadline 15 April.

  1. What we’re reading, watching and listening to

A reading list compiled by academics on the meanings, consequences and geopolitics of deportation.

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