19 November 2023: Status Now 4 All welcomes the defeat of the Government’s Rwanda Plan in the Supreme Court
Status Now 4 All joins all refugee and human rights organisations in welcoming the ruling of the Supreme Court that the Government’s so-called ‘Rwanda Plan’ (to remove virtually all people seeking asylum to Rwanda for ‘processing’ through the asylum system with, notably, no possibility of return to the UK) is unlawful.
It is important to note that the ruling was unanimous: five judges ruled the plan unlawful not only under the provisions of European human rights law, but also under domestic British law. Parliament must now also understand that the threat to renounce UK signatory state status to the European Convention on Human Rights, or to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998, will not fix the Rwanda plan in the way the UK Government intends, and both would bring about a significant risk to the human rights of everyone living in the UK and to the UK’s standing in international terms
We extend our deep gratitude to the legal team acting for the respondents in this matter, and all the charities and solidarity organisations which have worked with them to bring about this result.
We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else
On the 12th October our Friends of Status Now organised a meeting of supporters in Birmingham.
Hosted by Birmingham Asylum and Refugee Association (BARA) participants shared their experiences of living as migrants and refugees with precarious status and looked ahead to the campaigning they expect to be involved in in the coming months.
Foremost in the discussion was the role that migrant and refugee activists can play in the general election campaign which will take place in 2024. What opportunities will exist for people with precarious status to intervene in public debates over the treatment of people seeking refugee and a better life in the UK?
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2020, a group of organisations working in solidarity with migrant and refugee people issued a call for ‘Status Now 4 All!’ in order to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of people who were in positions of exceptional risk as a consequence of having a precarious right of residence in the UK.
A lot about the predicament of migrants in British society that emerged during these months conflicted with dominant prejudices that existed over their position as workers and fellow members of local communities. It became widely understood that migrants earned their livings as key workers across many sectors of services and industries, and were obliged to continue working in high-risk occupations. As health and care workers, working in public transportation, and employed in other vital roles for fulfilling supply chains in the distribution of food and other essential goods, migrants, therefore, formed a large proportion of the newly-named group: ‘essential workers’.
The Status Now Network (SNN) was set up at the beginning of the pandemic when it became clear that many migrants would be badly affected and that the risk to their lives and livelihood would be huge. The founding organisations were very concerned that undocumented migrants would not seek access to healthcare for fear of being reported to the Home Office, detained and deported. We started to hear about migrants dying alone at home from Covid-19. We also knew that many would go hungry, especially those who rely on cash in hand to survive and those who do not have access to public resources. Due to the lock down, we knew that many migrants had lost the little but sometimes vital support from NGOs as well as the support they were getting from friends and contacts.
Welcome to this edition of SNN newsletter where we are covering a number of items that will be of interest to everyone involved in migrant and refugee solidarity work.
The first article comments Sunak’s ‘stop small boats’ plan with the ‘illegal migration bill’.
The second highlights how the government’s aim is not to ‘stop the small boats’, but to stop people asking for refugee status in the UK and invite the workers’ and antiracist movements to further mobilize together against the government’s cruel antirefugee policy.
Our third article reports the result of a recent research that shows how the 10-year route is a ‘punishing process’ that reduces immigrants in misery.
Children and the hostile environment is the topic of our fourth article that invite to a webinar organized by our signatory Social Scientists Against the Hostile Environment.
Finally, we publish a call from our signatory Migrant Voice to contribute to their forthcoming report on the conditions of asylum seekers in London hotels.
12 March 2023: The “illegal migration bill” places a legal duty on the home secretary to remove anyone who arrives on a small boat, either to Rwanda or another “safe third country”, “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
For this plan to work it will be necessary to detain each and every person arriving in a small boat until their removal can be affected. The logistical problems here are immense. Last year the total entering by this route was 45,756. The figure for the current year is likely to be as high, with over 3,000 arriving since January.
According to the Oxford University Migration Observatory the immigration removal centre estate has a capacity for detaining people in the region of 2,500 places. A further 500 people have been detained in regular prison establishments but the scope for making greater use of these facilities is limited. The statistics provided for the UK in the World Prison Brief shows the prison system already in an overcrowded state, with more than 83.000 people being held across an estate with an official capacity of just over 77,000.
20 February 2023: Status Now Network and the fight for antiracist workplaces
Status Now Network joined the Stand Up to Racism and TUC’s national conference Fighting for Anti-Racist Workplaces held at SOAS, University of London, last February 4th. The conference highlighted the role of the trade union movement to combat racism in the workplace, the hostile environment that targets migrant workers and refugees, and the various community interventions to prevent the rise of the far-right movement across the UK.
Refugees and SNN campaigners Loraine Masiya Mponela and Rogelio Braga were invited to participate in the workshop session #Stop Rwanda #Refugees welcome -don’t let scapegoating divide us , where Braga was one of the speakers. He highlighted that the plight of undocumented migrant workers should also be at the agenda of the British union movement. Undocumented migrants with their precarious migration status are subjected to exploitation, racism, and unfair labour practice with limited protection and support from institutions.
20 February 2023: Years of refugee policy failure laid the grounds for the Knowsley riot – the government should be made to own it
The scene outside The Suites hotel in the Liverpool suburb of Knowsley earlier this month provided a powerful summary of where the politics of immigration are in the UK at this moment in time.
It is sadly a feature of anxious times that segments of the population will look to simplistic explanations for the threats to their living standards which place the blame on ‘foreigners’ and other minoritized people.
20 February 2023: The president of BFAWU (Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union), Ian Hodson, was one of the participants in the Status Now Network strategy weekend (held on 27th – 29th January).
He found it to be ‘a very inspirational event meeting real leaders and fighters for justice, people who are suffering real hardship but show incredible strength and resilience’.
He wrote this contribution announcing the motion approved by the BFAWU executive committee and stressing their strong commitment to the status now for all campaign:
Having recently attended the Status Now strategy weekend, I was pleased to report back to my national executive about the positive time I spent taking part in developing how we build the campaign and solidarity. I am pleased that our executive has adopted the following motion which will now go to our conference in June this year. It reads as follows:
A new law has recently come into force in Finland that expands health care for undocumented migrants living in the country. Under this law, undocumented people can now access necessary care – that is, care that health care professionals deem necessary. This covers, for instance, conditions like diabetes or asthma that, if left untreated, would constitute a risk to the person’s health and increase the likelihood of urgent care being needed in the future.