Asylum Matters is working to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. Our campaigning aims to make progress towards the eight goals that were identified at the ‘Sanctuary Summit’ in 2014 which include:
- A reduction of destitution in the asylum system, by ensuring that all asylum seekers and refugees can meet their essential living needs while in the UK;
- Permission to work for asylum seekers whose case has taken more than six months, or they have been refused and are temporarily unable to return home;
- Free access to healthcare for all asylum seekers while they are in the UK;
- Improved decision making, so protection is granted to all those who need it;
- Improved access to good quality legal advice and representation;
- Reduced use of detention for asylum seekers and refugees;
- Asylum seekers to be welcomed & befriended on arrival, and offered free language tuition so they can fully participate and contribute to the local community;
- All asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to be treated with dignity and respect.
Because our focus is to influence policy and practice at a local and national level, we are not able to run or support campaigns for specific individuals going through the asylum system. However, we are always keen to hear about the experiences of people seeking asylum so that we can identify broader trends that can inform our advocacy and campaigning.
In choosing which of our advocacy issues to prioritise at any given time, Asylum Matters will consider the impact on people seeking asylum and refugees, the relevance of the issue to our local and national partners, the opportunity for change and the value and impact we can bring to campaigning efforts.
We will tend to prioritise issues where we feel we can fill gaps in the sector’s response, for example by offering co-ordination of initiatives, linking local and national campaigning, or collating evidence to inform advocacy.
While our advocacy is always underpinned by an understanding of the external context and the political opportunities to create change, we don’t shy away from picking up issues we believe are more intractable. In those cases, our campaigning will aim to create a more permissive environment for change and mobilise the tools needed for a ‘win’ that can be deployed when an influencing opportunity presents itself in the long term.
We believe that the strength of our project is in our regional presence so will work on issues where we feel we can have impact at a local or national level, or where constituency voices can be most powerful in bringing about change.
Our presence in those regions and nations means we are best equipped to support and work with organisations based there. However, we are also keen to partner with organisations based in regions and nations where we do not have a presence, to ensure our advocacy is based on national trends and our campaigning can take place across the whole of the UK.
Asylum Matters is not a formal coalition but works with a broad network of partners who share our vision for a more fair and effective asylum system and campaign with us to achieve this. Our partners are therefore supportive of the advocacy goals we are working towards and they are also themselves actively supporting one or more of these goals through awareness-raising, campaigning or lobbying, or encouraging their own networks or members to do the same.
Our partners receive regular updates from Asylum Matters on key policy developments and campaigning actions that they can get involved with. Partners will be invited to opt into joint action coordinated by Asylum Matters but there is no obligation that they will support each of our campaigns. Our partners are also encouraged to request our support for their own campaigns or to work with us to inform our priority issues. This is important to us to ensure our work remains driven by our partners and amplifies their work at a local and national level.
While our partners are broadly supportive of our advocacy goals, this does not imply that they support each policy position adopted by Asylum Matters. Asylum Matters will always make explicit which positions are our own, and which are backed by our partners, in which case we will seek partners’ approval beforehand.
If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on key policy developments and campaigning actions that you can get involved with, please email [email protected]. Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in specific campaigns and we can share more information on this when we reply.
If you represent an organisation that is interested in partnering with Asylum Matters to campaign for change to asylum policy and practice, please email the team member based in your region or nation. If we do not have a presence in your region or nation, please email the Project Director.
Yes. Asylum Matters offers advocacy and campaigning training to our partners, as well as training on various aspects of the asylum system in the UK. Our training is mainly targeted towards our local partners who are hoping to gain skills and increase their ability to engage in local and national campaigns.
Where we are not able to offer training or feel we are not best placed to train partners on a specific issue, we can advise on other training options. For more information on the training we offer, please visit our Training page.
No, Asylum Matters is a campaigning and advocacy project working to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum through social and political change. As such, we are not resourced to provide support or advice to individuals going through the asylum system.
Asylum Matters is a project, not an organisation, and therefore it is hosted by City of Sanctuary, a national organisation that provides coordination and support for City of Sanctuary local groups around the UK with the aim of building a culture of hospitality and welcome.
While Asylum Matters is independent in setting its advocacy objectives, it works closely with City of Sanctuary at a national and local level. This partnership has provided local City of Sanctuary groups with access to additional opportunities to engage in campaigning and advocacy activities to support refugees and asylum seekers. These campaigns will greatly benefit from the involvement of local groups whose enthusiasm and dedication can have real campaigning impact when channelled towards relevant influencing opportunities.
We believe the partnership will facilitate greater synergy between national, regional and local awareness-raising and advocacy.