StatusNow4All Newsletter – January 2024

Status Now 4 All Newsletter: January 2024

Welcome to the first Status Now Newsletter in 2024.  We hope the holidays have given you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and are ready for a year of vigorous campaigning in 2024!

Here are a few notes on how 2023 ended with regard to immigration and refugee issues, giving some context on the work we will be doing over the next 12 months.

Winning support from the trade unions

Status Now marked International Migrants Day on 18th December with a social and discussion event held in partnership with Unite the Union.  Supporters gathered to enjoy Filipino food provided by the domestic workers support group, Waling Waling and discuss what more could be done to build trade union solidarity with the fight for migrant and refugee rights.

A full report of the event is available here.

Bibby Stockholm, army barracks and offshoring

The Home Office’s attempts to evade its obligations for humane reception of refugees was one of the major issues of 2023.  The use of the Bibby Stockholm barge and decommissioned army barracks were constantly in the news, providing evidence of harm to people caught up in long drawn-out procedures for claiming asylum.

Among the scandals of the year has been the government’s efforts to offshore asylum altogether by sending anyone deemed to have used ‘illegal’ routes of entry to foreign jurisdictions, with Rwanda providing the most controversial l example. Developments under these heading were monitored by Status Now supporters across the year.  Their work was compiled in a blog published on our website in December and can be viewed here.

The death of a man on the Bibby Stockholm barge, the suicide attempts by men at a former RAF base in rural Essex,  and the deaths of a woman and a man in the Channel were the subject of a blogpost by Charlotte Khan of Care4Calais also published on our website in December.  You can read it here.  

New EU deal undermines refugee rights across Europe

The European Union concluded the year with a new deal which change how the bloc processes migrants, moves them around EU countries and effectively makes it easier to remove unsuccessful asylum seekers.  It was criticised by Amnesty International’s Olivia Sundberg Diez who said, “The final deal entails extremely disappointing outcomes across the board. Its main impact will be to increase suffering at borders and make it harder to seek safety.”  There is more detail on the deal here.

Adult social care visas raise concerns about migrant exploitation

The labour rights organisation, Focus on Exploitation (FLEX) coordinated the publication of a report on the risk of migrant labour exploitation in the adult care sector in December. 

Bringing together the latest research and policy analysis of the experiences of migrant care workers in the UK labour market, the report sets out the risks which make the adult social care sector a hotbed for exploitation and poor working conditions. The paper puts forward a series of priority policy recommendations including the introduction of a National Care Service, improvement to labour market enforcement mechanisms and recruitment practices as well as updates to the visa system.  More details here.

Proposed ban on admission of migrant care worker families

In response to official statistics showing a surge in net migration during the course of the year, Home Secretary James Cleverly moved to placate criticism from Conservative backbenchers with proposals to end the right of people admitted on visas as care workers to be accompanied by dependent family members.  In addition, he outlined plans to increase the earnings requirement for British citizens and other residents for family reunion from a level of £18,600 fixed in 2012 to over £38,000 a year.

Intense lobbying by employers desperate to continue migrant recruitment have led to a modification of the salary condition, brought down to £29,000 by the spring of  2024, rising to £38,700 in early 2025. However, the outright ban on the admission of the family members of migrant care workers is still intended to be in force later in the spring.

The implications of these proposals have been considered by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists.  The Bureau’s points to the 150,000 vacancies for care workers across the UK and the widespread view that the ban on the admission of family members will present major obstacles to bringing in the workers who are urgently needed.  Read more about this here.

Recent Status Now activities

Status Now continues its migrant and refugee training work in partnership with Migrant Voice.  The objective of this training is to help provide people fighting for a residence status in the UK with skills as campaigners in order that they can make the case for treatment in accordance with human rights standards directly to the British public.

The most recent training session took place in Birmingham in December.  It brought together people caught up in asylum procedures who wanted to share their experience of the system and present it with greater confidence to media organisations.  For more on the session click here.

If you would like to know more about future training sessions in your area please send an email to letting us know about your interests in this area of campaigning.

Now I Sing – Poems by Loraine Masiya Mponela

Refugee rights campaigner and member of Status Now’s Reference Group, Loraine Masiya Mponela, has published her second book of poetry. 

Described as both a lamentation and a celebration, offering 50 poems for the 50 years she has lived, this collection honours her people’s ancient wisdom while imagining her future. Reflecting on individual and collective journeys, it is a book about courage, fear, desperation and excellence.

For more information about Now I Sing, click here.  To order the book direct click here.

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