Waling Waling: In 1997/98 the then Labour government accepted that domestic work in the private household would be recognised as work in employment legislation.
This followed a ten-year long campaign organised by Kalayaan, Waling Waling, the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) and fully supported by the Transport & General Workers Union, now Unite. Other organisations and individuals including parliamentarians in both Houses and in the European Parliament supported the campaign over the years. Disgracefully, in 2012 the then Home Secretary in the coalition government, Teresa May abolished the domestic worker visa with rights and protections, saying that future domestic workers would be protected under the Modern Slavery Act, thereby reducing workers with legal rights and protections to victims with the promise of protection. This system simply doesn’t work.
StatusNow4All: Welcome to 2023, as the government renews its attacks on the rights of migrants
The New Year was underway before the prime minister offered up his ‘five pledges’ to the nation, one of which being to stop “small boats” crossing the Channel. The use of phrase is intended to put a benign gloss on a political programme which aims at a final end to the right to seek asylum in the UK.
The right wing of Mr Sunak’s party sees a renewed attack on the rights of migrants as the only chance the Conservative party has of digging itself out of the deep hole of its current unpopularity and winning a general election sometime in 2024. They are prepared to throw everything they have got at the task of ending all vestiges of migrant and refugee rights and returning to the hostile environment policies which produced the ‘Windrush generation’ scandal of 2017.
Join us to learn about the proposed expansion of immigration detention in the UK and how we can resist it.
The Home Office has recently announced plans to reopen Campsfield House and Haslar as Immigration Removal Centres, increasing the number of people that can be detained at any given time by 33%, at a cost of £399 million to the taxpayer.
These plans are part of an alarming trend of regressive and inhumane legislation which criminalises asylum seekers and migrants and substantially increases the numbers of detainable and deportable people. Increasing detention capacity is part of the infrastructure required to enact the Government’s inhumane plans to remove people seeking asylum to Rwanda, which must be stopped.
This event will bring together several speakers to discuss how we can come together to resist the expansion of immigration detention and move towards a world in which no one is deprived of their liberty for immigration purposes or deported from their home.
Panel Chair: Writer and campaigner Gracie Mae Bradley will chair the panel. She has a decade’s experience working in NGOs in England, including as Director of the civil liberties group Liberty, as well as being part of many grassroots campaigns. She is co-author of Against Borders (Verso, 2022).
Speakers: Kolbassia Haoussou MBE, Director of Survivor Empowerment at Freedom from Torture who will be speaking about their successful campaigning work targeting airlines removing asylum seekers to Rwanda as well as broader campaigning against Hostile Environment Policies. Jacqueline McKenzie, partner and head of immigration and asylum law at Leigh Day Solicitors with whom BID is working on a legal challenge against Manston. Drawing on her vast experience, including representing hundreds of people affected by the Windrush Scandal, she will be discussing how we can hold the government to account in court. Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West who joined local campaigners in successfully closing an Immigration Removal Centre in Oxford in 2018, and is currently fighting government proposals to re-open it. Bill MacKeith, from the Keep Campsfield Closed Coalition, will be sharing insight gleaned from over 30 years of campaigning to close Campsfield down and keep it closed. Pierre Makhlouf, Legal Director at Bail for Immigration Detainees, will be discussing trends in Immigration Detention Policy, the case against immigration detention and BID’s work to end it.
We are proud to be the UK’s first literary magazine of Sanctuary, accredited by City of Sanctuary.
The second print edition has now been released and is also available online. With a forward by Lord Alf Dubs, it is a selection of fiction, poetry and non-fiction works written by those with with first-hand experience of displacement and seeking asylum. You can find out more here
To mark International Migrants’ Day 2022, Mariko Hayashi and Luisa Pineda from the Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC) highlight the barriers and risks faced by migrant workers from their community, sharing first-hand experiences of exploitation and calling for workers to be better protected in this guest blog.
Quakers believe that all people are precious, everywhere. Today they speak out yet again against the UK government’s plans on migration which continue to embed policies of discrimination into the practices of the British state.
Announcing his latest plans for the asylum system, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said new legislation would make it clear that those entering the UK by unsafe and irregular routes would not be able to remain.
But the Prime Minister’s plans, announced on Tuesday 13 December, criminalise those seeking sanctuary and contravene the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, of which the UK was a founding signatory.
The UK should do more to promote peace and climate justice abroad, allowing people to live safely at home, rather than being forced to take often life-threatening routes to safety, said Oliver Robertson, head of witness and worship at Quakers in Britain.
What you can do: United Nations International Migrants Day (IMD)will be marked once again this year on 18 December.
This year, IMD will be happening when the attention of millions of people across the world will be focused on the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
It is appropriate to remember that the month-long festival of the world’s most popular support on this occasion would not have been possible without the labour of a large migrant workforce.
Qatar has a population of 3 million people, two-thirds of who are migrants. They make up 95% of the country’s workforce. During the 12 years it has taken to prepare the country for the World Cup migrant labour has been essential to the construction of new football stadia, hotels, metro, airport, and other infrastructure related to the competition.
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 change of tone in the public debate about immigration and invites to work together to make 2023 a year marked by the progression toward a progressive, rights-based immigration policy. The second reports a conference on housing justice and highlights the challenges faced by migrant women. Finally we update on the Status Now Network’s strategy weekend, now definitely planned on 27th -29th January 2023.
We wish you a restful winter holiday and a happy new year.
This news comment is attributable to Vicky Tennant, UNHCR Representative to the United Kingdom
UNHCR notes with concern the proposals presented in a report issued today by the Centre for Policy Studies on UK asylum reform.
The report contains critical factual and legal errors regarding the international legal status of refugees and asylum-seekers.
Everybody has the right to seek asylum from persecution in another country, and there is no such thing as an “illegal asylum-seeker”. The indefinite detention of those seeking asylum, based solely on their mode of arrival, would punish people in need of help and protection and constitute a clear breach of the United Kingdom’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
30 November 2022: Freemovement: Social networks often play an important role in shaping migrant decision-making and movements.
Where migrants can exert a degree of agency over their destination choice, social networks often play an important role in shaping their journeys. These networks are usually understood to comprise friends and family members, community organisations and intermediaries.
Economic rights do not act as a pull factor for asylum seekers. A review of the relationship between Right to Work and numbers of asylum applications concluded that no study reported a long-term correlation between labour market access and destination choice. Very few migrants have any experience of a welfare state such as exists in the UK and imagine that they will be able to (if not expected to) work and support themselves upon arrival.
Evidence does not suggest that grant rate has a significant impact on an asylum seeker’s choice of destination, and it is not clear whether migrants have accurate information on grant rates. Social networks, shared languages and diaspora communities more likely motivate asylum seekers to reach certain destinations.
What might explain why some migrants travel from France to the UK to claim asylum?
For those living in these makeshift camps, life is often uncertain and precarious, with camp clearances and forced evictions that can lead to damage and confiscation of personal belongings and reported police brutality and abusive practices. There is often limited access to water and sanitation facilities, while many depend on local associations for food distributions. This may act as a factor driving onward movement out of France, a small portion of which is to the UK.
THE HOME OFFICE DOES NOT PUBLISH DATA ON THE DEATHS OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN ITS HOUSING…
… despite calls from experts and campaigners to do so. We set out to gather as much information as possible about each of them. Here, we tell their stories. https://www.asylumseekermemorial.co.uk/
This is a journalistic project bearing witness to the stories of those who have died while provided with asylum seeker housing in Britain since 2016.
Asylum seekers are generally barred from working while they await the result of their claim. Many can’t afford to live. The Government has a duty to house them during this time.
In 2020, amid a growing backlog in asylum case decisions and the pressures of the pandemic, the Home Office expanded its use of contingency accommodation including ex-military barracks and hotels. In these and other types of asylum seeker housing – provided under contract by private firms Clearsprings Ready Homes, Mears, Serco – reports arose of poor living conditions and problems accessing medical care.
The Government doesn’t publish data on deaths in this accommodation, so our journalists set out to gather it.
There are many many examples of racism in UK and beyond, coming to our attention daily and it is racism that has enabled the hostile environment to take hold such that people are left in a situation where they fear the potential threat to their safety from the Home Office more than they fear the threat to their own lives of the Covid pandemic.
Below, you will find just a small selection of reports about the way in which racism shows itself.
Exactly a year ago, a dinghy with 34 people on board sank in the English Channel. There were two survivors. In the three hours it took for the boat to sink, as distress messages flooded in from those on board, French and British coastguards debated whose responsibility it was to rescue them. No help came, as one by one the passengers died of cold or drowned. As this week’s Calendar of Racism and Resistance shows, the body investigating the deaths – the worst loss of life in the Channel in over 30 years – the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), will not present its findings until at least early summer next year, and has not yet been in touch with most of the families of those who died, despite being sent their contact details. The families have also been denied access to recordings of their loved ones’ final calls for help. The unmistakable message conveyed by such responses is that these deaths don’t matter and that the families of the deceased are unworthy of respect.