Blog

Don Flynn Jun 24, 2016
We respond to the outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
The vote to leave the European Union has thrown politics into a massive period of uncertainty. It is clear that deep public concern about immigration has been one of the most important factors encouraging 52% of voters to take the drastic action of the probable severing of the connection with the largest economic market in the world. The perceived need to ‘regain control of our borders’ has been a potent message which summed up the feeling that many people have about a country that has changed so much in recent decades. Immigration, as many have said, has functioned as a proxy for the misgivings about living in a world where markets have taken the place of democracy in determining the quality of public life.
Don Flynn Jun 20, 2016
Amidst the harsh facts there is energy and zeal to change the way refugees are treated in the world today. Refugee Week is a great chance to add momentum to this movement.
  Today is UN World Refugee Day and in Britain it marks the start of our annual Refugee Week. As the UNHCR reminds us, it kicks off this year with a record high level of displacement of vulnerable and persecuted people. One in every 122 human across the face of the planet is now believed to be a refugee shockingly half of them being children.
Don Flynn Jun 20, 2016
The week opens with the shock of the brutal murder of Jo Cox still pervasive. Think about this during the final days of the referendum campaign.
    Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s judgment of the tone of the referendum debate this morning is worth quoting at length. She said: “This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or politically useful in the short term, but it causes long-term damage to communities. “The vision that me and other Brexiters who have been involved right from the outset, who had a positive outward-looking vision of what a Brexit vote might mean, unfortunately those voices have now been stifled and what we see is the divisive campaign which has resulted in people like me and others who are deeply Euro sceptic and want to see a reformed relationship feel that they now have to leave.”
Alan Ali Jun 20, 2016
Is the UK in the grip of a crime wave as a result of EU migration? Will we need more prisons to lock up a wave of Euro-Crims? The evidence suggests it’s not.
    The EU referendum campaign hit yet another low with claims by one politician that seven more prisons will be needed by 2030 to house all the new criminals that will arrive if the UK votes to stay in Europe. While another long-term Brexiter found himself facing criticism for suggesting the risks of sex attacks on women would rise if voters decide to stay.  
Don Flynn Jun 13, 2016
In the world we live in today immigration is not a tap you can turn on or off at will. We look at a new book that helps us understand how it fits in with emergence of global labour markets, and won’t be easily banished by any easily-applied anti-immigrant measure.
Right throughout the current debate on around the in/out referendum there is one question that is being asked incessantly by the millions who are trying to decide how to cast their vote, and it is perhaps the one that the supporters of a positive case from immigration have found hardest to answer: just how did we manage to become a country of large-scale inward migration anyway? The answer most frequently touted is that is has come about as the result of incompetence and poor judgement on the part of national politicians.  According to this version of events at some point in the 1990s or thereabouts, someone in some ministry or another decided that that immigration was the simplest and most direct way to continue to grow the economy and went for it hell for leather. 
Alan Ali Jun 6, 2016
Workers’ rights seem to be one of the invisible benefits of EU free movement. They arrived as a result of the ability of people to cross borders for work. Are they an under-rated or even forgotten aspect of free movement?
You’d think a group of workers that came to this country bringing along extra rights we can all enjoy would be welcomed with open arms wouldn’t you?  Thanks to the free movement of labour rules in the EU we can all share in the right to a minimum paid annual leave entitlement; more rights for agency workers and temps; maternity leave rights and parental leave; equal pay and anti-discrimination rights Front-and-centre of debate The fact of EU workers coming to the UK in increasingly larger numbers is front-and-centre of political debate right now and the outcome could have fundamental implications for the free movement we all enjoy.
Clara Dublanc Jun 6, 2016
With the EU referendum looming, there is a Brexit argument that sneers at London’s multiculturalism. As London has just elected its first Muslim mayor, rejecting a campaign of innuendo which even supporters of rival candidates found distasteful, some Brexiters have nevertheless labelled London a unique and separate entity which is detached from the realities of the rest of the UK.
The Open Generation platform seeks to celebrate this diversity, and to prove that the best future for a cohesive and inclusive society is to become a cosmopolitan one; a society open to and appreciative of the changing face of British identity.
Don Flynn May 30, 2016
A new website reporting on community action on migration in London has set out some important ideas of what could be achieved for a city in which one-third of its population was born outside the UK. It argues that the key to progress is rooting the rights of migrants into local campaigns for decent jobs, affordable housing, and convivial neighbourhood space.
        In the end it turned out to be something of a comfortable victory for the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan, in the race to be Mayor of London.   Over one million people voting for a candidate, who is the son of a Pakistani immigrant to the UK who worked as a bus driver. During the course of the election campaign Mr Khan was subjected to a barrage of criticism from his Conservative opponent with regard to his work as a human rights lawyer who has defended individuals accused of religious extremism in the past. His own convictions as a Muslim where equated with his professional work with the intention of creating the impression that his role as Mayor would present the capital city with security threats.
Alan Ali May 26, 2016
Claims that EU migrants see Britain’s welfare benefits as a ‘pull’ factor have been consistently demolished by study after study. But this hasn’t laid these clearly bogus claims to rest. What’s going on? - asks Alan Ali.
The government’s February deal with the EU introduced a ‘four-year ban’ on new migrants from the EU claiming in-work benefits. This is meant to counter the perceived problem of EU nationals relying on the benefits system and seeing it as an attraction to moving to Britain. But is this what’s really happening?
Alan Ali May 23, 2016
The UK’s quarterly immigration statistics are due to be published later this week. Last time around there was an almighty furore because the numbers of National Insurance numbers issued to EU citizens far exceeded the numbers who have come to live permanently in the country. Will the reaction be any better this time?
Alina Müller May 16, 2016
As the government prepares to roll out new immigration enforcement measures under the Immigration Act 2016 MRN renews its call for a joint action plan to defend the rights of all migrants.
We never expected to win the battle against the Immigration Bill. In fact, we expected to lose it sooner. In November last year, MRN brought together activists, campaigners and NGOs to discuss joint strategies for defending the rights of migrants in preparation for the impact of a new Immigration Act. Energy and determination Though many of the participants then shared our pessimism, the energy and determination to fight the government’s plans to ‘crack down’ on migrants by further reinforcing a ‘hostile environment’, was palpable.
Don Flynn May 12, 2016
New interest in what we are learning to call modern slavery is leading to increased public awareness that there are groups of people in the world today who get a very raw deal out of the labour market. In this long read, Don Flynn points out that high on everyone’s list of the biggest victims are migrants: workers who cross national frontiers in search of a livelihood.
There are two things to say about concerns registered on behalf of migrants. The first is, yes, there are very good grounds for believing that many of them are exposed to a high risk of abusive, exploitative work conditions. The second is, don’t get carried away: migrants are working hard to turn their disadvantages around, and there are things to learn from those who are registering a degree of success in doing this. Migrant workers are not necessarily vulnerable workers The facts are a good place to start this discussion. And here the empirical evidence for the disproportionate presence of migrants in work situations which are clearly exploitative is not as clear-cut as many suppose.
Alan Anstead May 6, 2016
The insidious expansion of immigration enforcement activities into other areas of public life is becoming an increasing menace to the human and legal rights of many migrant communities. Operation Nexus is an example of what is going and we set out the reasons why its steady creep needs to be checked.
A lot has been said, for and against, free movement within the EU. Most people think it means that any EU national can travel to another EU country and live there, work there or look for work. That’s true for the first three months. But after that it becomes murkier. One has to ‘access one’s freedom of movement rights’ which means being in employment, being self-employed, being a student with finance for the duration of the course, or having funds to sustain oneself and family. Freedom of movement is one of the founding principles of the EU, designed to support the economies of EU countries by providing a mobile work force. However, did you know that the UK government is forcibly deporting hundreds of EU nationals, many of them illegally?
Don Flynn May 3, 2016
MRN was launched as a networking project in November 2006. As we approach our 10th anniversary what has been learnt about the best ways to win rights for migrants?
It is getting on to ten years since MRN was launched as a project that aimed to improve the capacity of organisations concerned with the rights of migrants of all kinds to network with one another. Back in 2006 it had become clear that the UK, along with other developed market economies across the world, was in the middle of a new ‘Age of Migration’.  Driven in by the globalisation of labour markets the trend for countries like the UK in the years since has been to acquire stocks of migration which are typically in the range of 10 to 15% of their total populations. 
Alina Müller Apr 25, 2016
The Immigration Bill has completed its passage through the Lords and is back in the Commons for consideration. Will the government try to undo all the work done by peers to soften some of the Bill's harder edges?
The announcement of the Immigration Bill 2015-2016 in September last year was heartbreaking and a source of great anxiety for many asylum seekers and migrants that live in the UK. Glimmers of hope As the Bill has been making its way through parliament, there have been some glimmers of hope. In the House of Commons, while most of the crucial amendments tabled by the opposition were unsuccessful, the Bill was exposed as unfair, ill-conceived and promoting discrimination. The debate also prepared the ground for some of the challenges made to the Bill in the House of Lords. These have resulted in a series of amendments that have been hailed by campaigners as a victory for justice and human rights. They include new clauses that would, if they became law: