Advocacy Update – 06 June 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. General Election

As you’ll all be aware a General Election has been called for Thursday 4th July. As such we are in the official Pre Election Period where government and Civil Service roles are restricted. Therefore many of the usual meetings between the Home Office and other government departments and the sector have been suspended.

Additionally, Charities are regulated during the Pre Election Period, particularly around campaigning. These resources are available from the Charity Commission and this briefing from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation

Asylum Matters has our General Election resources for all to use during this time. These 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.

Additionally, we have a new ‘I’m an Asylum Rights Voter’ poster which you can display in your window at home. Feel free to print these yourselves or look out for us at Refugee Week events where we will have printed copies as well as badges that say the same and postcards where you to write a message to the new Prime Minister about what kind of asylum system you want after the General Election.

  1. Advocacy and campaigning initiatives

Accommodation *TRIGGER WARNING*

The Guardian have reported on widespread abuse faced by people seeking asylum in Home Office hotels and other accommodation. Hundreds of complaints about ill treatment from staff have been lodged in the last year, with asylum seekers facing abuse and harassment, failures to deal with vulnerabilities such as mental health problems and serious self-harm, and staff walking into their bedrooms unannounced. Hundreds of other complaints related to the meals provided in catered accommodation, with inedible food and a lack of milk for children reported.

ITV News have reported on the severe mental health crisis at RAF Wethersfield. They cite data from our partners Helen Bamber Foundation and Doctors of the World that shows there were between 5 and 10 suicide attempts and 10 incidents of self-harm at Wethersfield in January 2024 alone. The Home Secretary James Cleverly has faced criticism from human rights campaigners after accusing people at Wethersfield of lies about their mental state in order to secure a move away from the site. Our partners Humans For Rights Network described his comments as ‘appalling’, and the Wethersfield site as ‘dehumanising and acutely harmful… resulting in a mass and endemic mental health crisis’.

Our partners Doctors of the World UK (DOTW UK) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have published a damning new report about the mental health crisis at RAF Wethersfield. The report, Like a Prison: No Control, No Sleep” includes shocking findings, with 41% of people held at Wethersfield experiencing suicidal ideation and 3 in 4 people presenting with severe psychological distress.

The Home Office and West Lyndsey District Council have struck up an ‘agreement in principle’ around the shared use of the RAF Scampton site, which will see the local council withdraw its legal challenge against the Home Office housing people seeking asylum on the former military base. Meanwhile, Braintree District Council has withdrawn its legal challenge over the Home Office using RAF Wethersfield for asylum accommodation.

The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has published a report that challenges the Home Office over the lasting harm and financial cost of ‘institutional’ asylum accommodation including large-scale sites and hotels and hostels. You can read our summary here.


  1. Government and parliamentary updates


Shortly after calling the General Election the Prime Minister confirmed that there would be no Rwanda removal flights before the Election. However despite this, many remain in Immigration pending removal to Rwanda. Legal action to secure people’s release is ongoing.

Right to Remain has created open-source ‘Free the Rwanda Detainees’ graphics, which can be freely downloaded. You can access the graphics from their blog here. They ask you to share on social media to support the call to free the Rwanda detainees using the hashtags #StopRwanda and #FreeRwandaDetainees

New Interim ICIBI

David Bolt is the new interim Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, he was the inspector from 1 May 2015 to 21 March 2021.

Report on review of weekly allowances paid to asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers: 2023

The Government published the report outlining its methodology for the 2023 review of asylum support rates, which very disappointingly cut support to people in full board accommodation from £9.58 to £8.80. They state ‘Whilst undertaking the 2023 review, we have determined that CPI is not a wholly accurate measure of amending rates as it is calculated using a basket of goods designed to represent the ‘average’ UK household, and therefore is unlikely to accurately reflect the true change in costs experienced by asylum seekers in meeting their essential living needs.’ This has resulted in them using a new bespoke methodology. You can read the report here

  1. Reports and research

‘Understanding Migrant Destitution in the UK’

This new report by COMPAS explores the effects of UK immigration policy on migrant destitution in the UK, highlighting the scale and changing face of migrant destitution and the vital role of local authorities in supporting vulnerable people facing destitution.

‘Childhood trauma, migration and asylum’ toolkits

The UK Trauma Council have released a new toolkit around Childhood Trauma and Asylum & Migration for educational settings, alongside their toolkits for local authorities and community organisations.

The new EU Asylum and Migration Pact – questions answered

Info Migrants have produced this explainer on the new EU Asylum & Migration pact.

UK Election 2024: Immigration Policy Tracker

The Migration Observatory have produced a policy tracker comparing statements made by the Conservative and Labour parties on immigration policy ahead of the upcoming General Election. It covers both visas and the asylum system and will be updated as the election campaign progresses.

‘Calling for a Guardianship Service for every Unaccompanied Child in Wales’

The Bevan Foundation has produced a joint report with Children’s Legal Centre Wales, The Children’s Society and British Red Cross, to make the case for a national Guardianship Service for all Unaccompanied Children in Wales.

We Move: JCWI’s manifesto for migrant justice

JCWI has launched: We Move: a manifesto for migrant justice, a five-point vision towards migrant justice through rights, safety, dignity, justice & community. The manifesto was produced in collaboration with their Lived Experience Advisory Board and designed by the talented blkmoodyboi. Full manifesto is here.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training 

New guide on changing minds on migration

Praxis has created a new guide on changing minds on migration for the General Election. Sign up for your free copy here. Based on deep canvassing methods, the free guide sets out how people can have impactful conversations about migrants and refugees with their friends and family.

Women for Refugee Women’s new research project – women’s experiences of the asylum system

Women for Refugee Women has launched a new research project, led by a team of seven refugee and asylum-seeking women from their grassroots network, which explores three Home Office policies/practices that restrict the freedom and liberty of women in the asylum process: 1) The work ban 2) Hotel accommodation 3) Immigration detention. To start the research, the research team has designed a short survey to find out about women’s experiences of the work ban, hotels and detention. WFRW be very grateful if you could disseminate the survey to the people you work with and support. The survey is for both women who are going through the asylum system, and those who have refugee status. Participants do not need to have experienced all three policies/practices to take part

 The survey is available in these languages, at the following links:

Trauma Informed Reflective Spaces

Refugee Action and Justice Together Initiative are piloting trauma informed reflective spaces to support participants with their wellbeing. The reflective sessions are intended to be a space to discuss the personal and professional impact of working in the refugee and migrant sector. You can find out more and sign up here by 7th June.

Engaging the UK’s post-election government

PostBug, FairSay and the Campaigning Forum are hosting an online event at 12pm on Tuesday 25 June where speakers will set out what campaigners need to think about as they prepare for all eventualities after the election. Find out more and sign up here.

Migrant Voice-Visas and Digital Status National Network meeting

At this meeting, there will be experts speaking on what this means for those who have to change their status as well as people who it will affect directly. They will look at the wider positives/negatives around a digital only status, the risks of not being able to prove status, electronic systems not working, bias built into systems, and surveillance and tracking issues of the ‘digital border’. Speakers from ILPA, the3million, and more to be announced soon. Sign up here

Welcome for refugees in football

Refugee Council have launched their new Fair Shot campaign to drive diversity and welcome for refugees in football


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

  • This BBC News piece about Nasra Ali and her children who have been made homeless after being granted refugee status, which is sadly an all-too-familiar story
  • Aamna writes about her childhood in Kakuma Refugee camp and her experiences seeking safety
  • This first-person account of life as an LGBTQ asylum seeker in the UK
Scroll to top