FRIENDS OF STATUS IN-PERSON MEETING TO PROMOTE ITS ‘LEARNING TO WORK TOGETHER’ ACTIVITIES
This event took place on Thursday 12th October, from 12:00 until 3:00pm. The report by Loraine Masiya Mponela follows:
A group of migrants and asylum seekers with precarious immigration status met in Birmingham to discuss a campaign strategy in the run up to elections.
The meeting was hosted by Birmingham Asylum and Refugee Association (BARA) which is a signatory organisation for the campaign.
“We are resilient, we are strong. We can build a new life here. Let us work together to achieve this” said the chairperson for BARA Faith Ngcobo.
The meeting which had attendance capped at 40 due to logistical problems has been described as a success. The theme of togetherness was echoed by almost every speaker on the day.
One of the attendees Shamiso Moyo who represents Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG) on the network said “Thank you to all the organisers and we really appreciate the efforts. Together we will make a difference and we are stronger together. We will always stand up and fight and we are very much inspired by all the activists who are making this possible thank you.”
“Togetherness will give us the strength and support to succeed and be productive!” echoed another attendee named Violet. A representative from Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research (RAPAR), Alimamy Bangura said “As men, we were breadwinners at home but we have been crippled by the UK Asylum and Immigration system. It’s a mental torture. It is hard but let us fight together”
Florence, from the Filipino Domestic Workers Association a consortium of Kanlungan explained her position, “Back home in Philippines I was doing accounting job but because of my immigration status, I was not able to practice it here or do further training. As a result, I was de-skilled and ended up doing domestic work. Domestic work is work but in my time, the domestic visa was taken away back in 2012. As a result of this many domestic workers end up irregular/undocumented.”
When one of the attendants was asked how hostile environment is affecting his life he said “ I am young, strong and I can work to support myself and others that need my support but I found myself not able to work I became homeless and am now a beggar”
Status Now 4 All is calling for the UK and Irish Governments to give indefinite leave to remain to everyone that needs it so that everyone can live with dignity as human beings. Lacking this status leaves people vulnerable and open to various forms of exploitation such as sexual, physical, financial, and more.
The meeting is the beginning of the series of events that Friends of Status Now is embarking on in the run up to elections. It will involve anti-racists groups, trade unions and community organisations working against poverty and racism.
The co-chair of the Status Now Network, Mariam Yusuf, concluded the meeting and said that in its campaigning work it puts the lived experience of migrant and refugee people at the centre of its work. “It is our stories that will touch the hearts of ordinary people,” she declared.
If you are a person with lived experience of the UK immigration control system you can keep in touch with the campaigning work of the Status Now Network by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org