Blog

Jan Brulc Aug 15, 2014 Comments: 2
We are hosting a night of stand up comedy headlined by Stewart Lee, not just to cheer up the troops, but because there is much to be said for infusing comedy into the migration debate in an attempt to break the stalemate in winning over the general public.
At MRN we are always looking for opportunities to push the envelope. You will have seen our work around OpenGeneration, APPG on Migration, TEDxEastEnd and OurDay. Constantly innovating and doing it well has become a bit of a mantra around the MRN planning table.  
Awale Olad Aug 5, 2014 Comments: 3
In a modern community centre in London’s Manor House, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg delivered a speech that was meant to draw a clear dividing line between the Liberal Democrats and their Coalition Government partners, the Conservatives. Clegg failed to achieve his aim.
When journalists are keener to ask you about the central issues of the day (Clegg was pressed about Baroness Warsi’s resignation over Gaza and a Daily Mail campaign about parking fines) it shows a lack of interest from what we thought was going to be announced, namely a set of reforms to the immigration system that would stake out a strong progressive approach (full speech here)
Don Flynn Aug 3, 2014
A conference in Venice last week brought together scholars and activists with a keen interest in the principles of the UN Migrant Workers Convention. At a moment when migrants are losing rights in the UK, the discussion held at that event was a timely reminder that there is a better way.
A week scarcely goes by nowadays without more news about the government’s determination to crack down on the rights which migrants have managed to accrue over the years through the operation of international conventions and EU law and agitation by civil society groups for their better treatment.
Ruth Grove-White Jul 30, 2014 Comments: 63
Yesterday we heard that the prime minister is introducing a new 'immigration crackdown', in favour of a system that 'puts Britain first'. Forgive us for suggesting that we have heard all this before...
Yesterday morning David Cameron was featured in a front page exclusive within the Daily Telegraph, announcing the substance of his big new 'immigration crackdown'. This was a range of measures which would supposedly make life ever-more difficult for those attracted to the UK with the aim of 'abusing' the system and taking something for nothing from the British taxpayer. 
Don Flynn Jul 28, 2014
Migration of young people is seldom considered a matter requiring a distinct framework of protection, but an important new book calls for a radical re-think on how to secure the rights of child migrants.
We are used to thinking of migrants as people who have made the calculated decision that their lives would be better off if they lived somewhere else. As such it can only be the behaviour of fully developed adults exercising mature judgement based on an appraisal of facts to establish that place A will support a higher standard of life than place B.
Don Flynn Jul 21, 2014 Comments: 10
You wait for weeks for a programme that allows migrants to tell the stories of their lives, and then three come along at once.
The media critic Ben Bagdikian once complained that trying to be a first class reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s ‘St Matthew’s Passion’ on a ukulele. He must have had in mind the conscientious hack who was attempting to do justice to the rich and varied story of migration when he came out with that line.
Ruth Grove-White Jul 11, 2014 Comments: 23
Families and campaigners fighting for fairer family migration rules have been on a roller coaster this week. We recap on the key developments for the campaign.
The path to fairer rules on family migration is not a smooth one... This week, the two year anniversary of the rules, saw dedicated campaigning action, new political commitments and a devastating legal judgement.
Awale Olad Jul 7, 2014 Comments: 1
Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft’s latest polling focuses on 4 key marginal parliamentary constituency seats: Bradford East, Brent Central, Manchester Withington, and Norwich South, currently held by the Liberal Democrats and the likelihood of Labour taking them in 2015.
Bradford East is currently held by Lib Dem MP David Ward, who on immigration issues has been an astute and committed campaigner, in particular, on family migration, a key issue impacting his constituents. An interesting and diverse constituency, Bradford East has a massive Asian community at almost 40% of the overall population, it is also a constituency with high home ownership rates (including mortgages), as well as an unusually young electorate.
Awale Olad Jun 30, 2014 Comments: 3
We expected the Westminster Hall debate on the Public Administration Select Committee’s (PASC) report on migration statistics to be an uneasy 3 hour long debate for the government, dominated by anti-immigration sentiment. Happily,we instead got a handful of MPs predominantly from the Conservative Party and a couple from Labour, debating for 1 hour 30 minutes the need to modernise the way migration statistics are recorded.
PASC chair Bernard Jenkin, a Conservative MP representing Harwich and North Essex, spoke extensively about the intricate nature of migration statistics when recorded by the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which is ‘subject to a large margin of error’. He remarked that the collection of data for the number of immigrants and emigrants is far lower than the actual numbers coming and going. He added:
Ruth Grove-White Jun 30, 2014 Comments: 3
The news last week brought us tales of companies engaged in fraudulent activity in the student migration system - what did it mean for the wider immigration debate?
In February, Panorama screened an undercover investigation into the use of fraud within the student visa system. The programme showed how some people seeking extensions of their student visa here had been able to obtain fake supporting documents from UK branches of an approved English language test provider. It suggested that key documents needed to support student visa applications could be bought under the counter, including falsified English language proficiency certificates, offers of study from universities, bank statements and proof of past academic attainment. 
Awale Olad Jun 23, 2014 Comments: 20
MPs are set to debate the political minefield of migration statistics this Thursday, 26 June. The Lords will also debate the right to work for asylum seekers.
The Westminster Hall debate will be led by Bernard Jenkins MP, the Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee, which looked into migration statistics last year and published a critical report of how the government was recording statistics and ensuring a proper mechanism to manage migration numbers in the UK existed. The committee’s inquiry considered various factors that record migration and took oral and written evidence from key experts including Dr Scott Blinder from Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford and Professor John Salt of the Migration Research Unit at UCL. Civil servants from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Home Office also faced questioning from MPs.
Ruth Grove-White Jun 23, 2014 Comments: 1
MRN held its annual Migration Summit in London last week. The aim was to map out the fight back against the dominant anti-immigration tone of political and public debate ahead of 2015... So what did we find out?
Last week, MRN held its annual Migration Summit in London. This year’s event, held in the wake of the recent UKIP surge in local and EU elections and with less than 12 months to go until next year’s general election, aimed to develop a common sense of the challenges and opportunities for the migration sector over the coming period. MRN’s chief interest was in establishing the scope for joint campaigning ahead of May 2015, in order to maximise our collective impact on public and policy debate. There to help us with that modest task were 75 migrant advocates from across the migration sector and beyond, and our key contributors Julian Huppert MP, Neal Lawson (chair of COMPAS), Alex Glennie (ippr), Saira Grant (JCWI), Eiri Ohtani (Detention Forum), Sunder Katwala (British Future), and many more. So what did we find out from the 2014 Migration Summit?
Don Flynn Jun 16, 2014
We have now entered the final twelve months of the longest general election campaign in British history. That so, it is good to hear that migrant community groups are working together to get messages across to the population about the positive case for migration
The report from our friends and colleagues at Migrant Voice about the representation of the viewpoint of migrants in the mainstream media makes shocking reading.  We are supposed to be right in the middle of a ‘grown-up’ conversation about immigration and its impacts on life in Britain and yet in 77% of the coverage of this issue the people most directly involved in the business of migration do not even get a look in. With these facts as a backdrop, the news that the initiative is being seized by a group of people from migrant communities with a project aimed at elbowing their way to a more prominent position in the public discussion is very welcome.
Ruth Grove-White Jun 9, 2014 Comments: 115
New research by MRN shows the uneven impacts of the minimum income requirement across the UK, and calls for change towards a fairer system for family migration.
A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a lady called Margaret, who lives in South Wales. Margaret has worked for the past decade as a legal secretary for a private solicitors firm, earning £13,500 a year. However, her salary is not considered adequate in order to sponsor her Tunisian husband to enter the UK, and so they are living apart for the foreseeable future.
Awale Olad Jun 9, 2014
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, is thought to have blocked the proposed primary legislation. However, Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary, has promised to carry out the changes under delegated powers.
The briefings and counter briefings as well as Paddy Ashdown’s intervention the last fortnight suggested internal disharmony amongst the Coalition parties over the proposals to introduce a new Immigration Bill. The new bill would have sought powers to reduce the right of freedom of movement of nationals from new European Union accession states. Primary legislation of this kind would have been on a collision course with EU laws and governance but the internal wrangling between the Home Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister could be interpreted as political posturing to galvanise their respective party bases, especially after the poor European and local election results for both parties.