Civil servants threaten ministers with legal action over Rwanda bill

12 March 2024: Guardian: Civil servants threaten ministers with legal action over Rwanda bill

Exclusive: Union says Home Office staff could be in breach of international law if they implement deportations

Civil servants have threatened ministers with legal action over concerns that senior Home Office staff could be in breach of international law if they implement the government’s Rwanda deportation bill.

The FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, have warned they could also be in violation of the civil service code – and open to possible prosecution – if they followed a minister’s demands to ignore an urgent injunction from Strasbourg banning a deportation.

It has sent a pre-action legal letter to James Cleverly, the home secretary, calling for clarity – with a request to either amend the legislation or change the code.

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Exporting people seeking asylum – Rwanda

27 January 2024: Guardian: Revealed: UK granted asylum to Rwandan refugees while arguing country was safe

Home Office said refugees’ fear of persecution was ‘well-founded’, undermining Rishi Sunak’s claims about East African country

Four Rwandans were granted refugee status in the UK over “well-founded” fears of persecution at the same time as the government was arguing in court and parliament that the east African country was a safe place to send asylum seekers.

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International Migrants Day 2023: London campaigners issue a call for action from trade unions

StatusNow4All: London-based supporters of Status Now 4 All gathered at an event to mark International Migrants Day on 18th December.

The event was hosted by Unite the Union and took place at its headquarters office in central London.  The event combined a social gathering (excellent food provided by the migrant domestic worker supporter organisation, Waling Waling), with the opportunity to review work done in the past year and expectations for campaigning work in 2024. 

Status Now 4 All’s co-chair, Mariam Yusuf, was able to join the event by video link.  She said that International Migrants Day gave people the opportunity celebrate the advances made in securing rights for migrant and refugee people, and also to set down the fact respect was due to them because, first and foremost, “We are also human beings whose basic human, social and economic rights ought to be honoured by the authorities of the countries in which we live.”

She set the theme for the evening: the need to strengthen the bonds between migrant and refugee solidarity organisations and the trade union movement.

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Why we must fight for Safe Passage for refugees

19 December 2023: PCS: Why we must fight for Safe Passage for refugees

Charlotte Khan from Care4Calais writes about the miserable reality of trying to find safety and freedom as a refugee in the UK and the importance of PCS standing on the side of refugees.

I started writing this post over a week ago. It should have been easy.  

I should have been able to simply talk about our belief in the Safe Passage policy, how much we valued working with PCS in challenging the Rwanda plan, and what our hopes for the future are.  

But in the space of just one week I’ve had to rewrite it four times. 

The death of a man on the Bibby Stockholm barge, men at a former RAF base in rural Essex attempting to set themselves on fire, the death of a woman in the Channel, the death of a man in the Channel – tragedy after tragedy.  

Each one devastating for family and friends. Each one heart breaking. And each one infuriatingly preventable.  

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ROAR PUBLIC MEETING: 7th Sept. at 6.30pm

RAPAR: ROAR (Raising Our Asylum Rights)

ROAR is developing out of the actions taken by hotel residents whose bravery has brought some of the human rights violations in asylum hotels to national media attention. Beginning with our first public meeting on 7th September, ROAR wants to make information-sharing and organising spaces where people seeking asylum, supported by allies from trades unions and civil society, safely expose human rights violations, participate in constructing alternative solutions, and openly campaign for those solutions (event flyer). 

ROAR PUBLIC MEETING: 7th Sept. at 6.30pm

ACCESS THE EVENT FLYER FOR DISTRIBUTION ROAR: RAISING OUR ASYLUM RIGHTS
RESISTING RACISM IN HOTELS

PUBLIC MEETING, 6.30PM, 7th SEPTEMBER 2023: FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE, 6 MOUNT STREET, MANCHESTER M2 5NS

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Destroying hopes, dreams and lives: How the UK visa costs and process impact migrants’ lives

21 July 2023: Migrants Organise/Medact: Unions unite with migrant organisations to call out government plan to fund pay rise with higher migrant fees.

Major trade unions – including the BMA, NEU, NASUWT, GMB and PCS – have come together with over 50 migrant organisations, to call out the government’s plan to fund a public sector pay rise through higher NHS and visa fees for migrants.  

Joint Statement

As trade unions and migrant organisations, we stand against this Government’s attempts to pit worker against worker. We know that an injury to one is an injury to all.

All workers deserve decent pay, safe working conditions and protections if our bosses seek to take advantage of us. Public sector workers deserve pay rises, but we strongly oppose any decision to fund this by further taxing migrants, by hiking visa costs and NHS fees. This is a blatant attempt to sow division within the labour movement and our communities. 

Increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge by 66% and increasing visa costs will push ever more people into destitution and poverty. The UK already effectively taxes migrants twice for healthcare, and has some of the most extortionate visa fees in Europe – a migrant family of four often has to pay around £50,000 over 10 years for the right to stay. This massive increase is simply unaffordable – it will price workers out of being able to afford a visa and force thousands further into poverty during the cost of living crisis, or out of the country.

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Paul O’Connor Senior National Officer writes about the PCS Campaign 

PCS are a supporter of the Status Now Network. Here Paul O’Connor Senior National Officer writes about the PCS Campaign 

Pushbacks

In autumn 2021, PCS was approached by members and representatives in our Home Office South-East England branch who had been asked by the then Home Secretary Priti Patel to carry out a dangerous pushbacks manoeuvre on small boats crossing the English Channel.  Our members were clear that they were completely opposed to the policy. They considered it unlawful, morally reprehensible and utterly inhumane.

On the back of that approach, alongside Care4Calais and Channel Rescue, PCS launched a legal challenge against the policy via judicial review.  The impact of this coalition should not be underestimated – here we had an organisation representing workers tasked with carrying out a policy; standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with organisations representing those affected by the policy – a clear indication of the level of inhumanity that the government is attempting to inflict on refugees. 

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Campaigner slams institutional racism of Britain’s asylum system

12 June 2023: Morning Star: BFAWU Conference 2023: Campaigner slams institutional racism of Britain’s asylum system

BRITAIN’S deliberately hostile asylum system is institutionally racist and designed to keep people down, a former claimant forced to navigate it warned today.

Loraine Masiya Mponela, who spent years in the system before finally winning settled status last year, said she could testify to the pain and suffering it causes.

She is part of the Status Now 4 All campaign, which wants ministers to grant every “undocumented, destitute migrant indefinite leave to remain so every human can access the same resources as everyone else.”

The activist, who addressed the Bakers’ Union’s annual conference in Stone, Staffordshire, described the call, backed by more than 150 organisations, as logical, rational and just, adding: “No human should be illegal and subjected to a loss of dignity.

“We must work together to create a Britain that is compassionate and just, a Britain that recognises the inherent wealth and value of all individuals.

“As [US founding father] Benjamin Franklin once said, justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Ms Mponela’s new book of poetry, I Was Not Born a Sad Poet, is available now.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/campaigner-slams-institutional-racism-britains-asylum-system

StatusNow4All Newsletter March 2023

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
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Trade unions unite in solidarity with refugees

The Fire Brigades Union is proud to have coordinated the following statement, which was passed as a resolution at our Executive Council last week:

In recent weeks, we have seen an alarming rise in violence and intimidation organised by the far right against refugees and refugee accommodation.

The government is complicit in these attacks. The Rwanda policy does not make sense as a means of stopping small boat crossings – and it is failing on its own terms – but it fits with a long-running campaign of rhetoric and demonisation.

Anti-migrant politics are an attempt to divide working class people against each other. In the past decade, the UK has suffered a crisis of living standards – with wages falling and public services left to rot. The people to blame for this are politicians, billionaires and big corporations, not migrant workers or refugees forced to live in temporary accommodation. The anti-refugee campaign offers no solutions to the real problems faced by the deprived communities they are often targeting. The answer is solidarity, not scapegoating.  

As trade unionists, we know whose side we are on when we see far right mobs attacking refugees and politicians playing the mood music. We send our solidarity to Care4Calais and all groups fighting for refugee rights, and we support the call for safe and legal routes into the UK. We call on workers and trade union members to show their solidarity and to mobilise against the far right.

Signed

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StatusNow4All Newsletter February 2023

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 analyses the government ‘s responsibilities for the racist riot in Knowsley.

The second highlights how four reviews of the hostile environment recently published by the Home Office show that this policy is racist.

The fight for antiracist workplaces and our call for status now for all is the focus of our third article,

while the fourth article shows the strong support of the BFAWU (Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union) to our campaign and reports an important motion approved by its executive committee. 
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The Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union’s support to the call for status now for all

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:

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Migration Health and Care

PICUM: FINLAND: NEW LAW EXPANDS HEALTH CARE FOR UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

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.

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