Blog

Don Flynn Oct 20, 2014 Comments: 1
David Cameron’s vow last week to have ‘one last go’ at changing EU migration rules have dominated discussion in recent days. Commission president Manuel Jose Barroso’s comments are welcome, but the positive case for free movement needs to be made by principled politicians as well as EU officials.
The crisis on the centre-right of UK politics, provoked by the rise of Nigel Farage’s UKIP, ratcheted up another notch last week. David Cameron pledged to have ‘one last go’ at limiting the right of citizens to free movement within the EU.   Mr Cameron made the promise during a visit to Kent, where local politics is gearing itself for a by-election in the Rochester and Strood constituency next month.  The contest was triggered by the defection of Tory MP Mark Reckless to UKIP at the beginning of October.
Ruth Grove-White Oct 20, 2014
The third instalment of our upcoming Migrant Manifesto touches on an issue making headlines this week. We are calling for the next government to resist the temptation to misrepresent EU migration, and instead to champion policy solutions that give these migrants a fair deal in the UK.
There are few areas of immigration policy in the UK where the position of a group of migrants has been so misrepresented as that of those who come from other countries of the European Union. EU nationals are commonly accused of abusing the right to free movement in order to gain access to benefits and services in the UK. They are portrayed as unfairly undercutting the wages and working conditions of resident workers. They are supposed to have no interest in ‘integrating’ themselves into British culture by learning the language and mixing in local communities.
Don Flynn Oct 13, 2014
The right wing challenge to the established political parties appeared to gain momentum last week from the results in both the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton by-elections. But the picture beyond the poll results shows that discontent is being driven by factors other than immigration. Shifting to a harder line on controlling the borders is not the response that is needed at this moment in time.
The big news of last week was of course UKIP’s performance in the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton.  Victory in one and a close second in the other has increased the sense that the party best known for its anti-Europe and immigration stances is a serious force which could hold the balance of power in Parliament after the general election due in May 2015.
Ruth Grove-White Oct 13, 2014 Comments: 6
Follow our weekly blog series to read preview extracts from a new Migrant Manifesto, highlighting six key calls for change after the next election. This week - how the rules need to better protect the rights and interests of families across borders...
The decision by the Government to make radical changes to the family migration rules in July 2012 has been one of the most widely reported injustices in the way immigration policy has developed in recent years. The current family rules have caused the widespread separation of genuine families, and have inflicted unnecessary hardship on people who should be establishing their lives together in the UK in security and stability.
Ruth Grove-White Oct 6, 2014 Comments: 7
Follow a new weekly blog series to read preview extracts from a new Migrant Manifesto, highlighting six key calls for change after the next election.
In November MRN will be launching a migrant manifesto as part of the upcoming 2015 pre-election campaign, Our Vote 2015. The manifesto pulls together the views from many civil society organisations to call for a fair and equal immigration system, and asks politicians to begin by making changes in six key areas.   You can read extracts from the manifesto over the coming weeks, which highlight the key calls for change.   Manifesto Call 1: End the ‘hostile environment’ created by local immigration enforcement 
Don Flynn Oct 3, 2014 Comments: 1
At the start of the party conference season a good working hypothesis was that the leaderships would continue to move with the balance of opinion on immigration as reported by the polls, and continue to track in a relentlessly right wing direction.
But after a taking advantage of the opportunity to chat with activist folk at the Labour and Tory events during the past week there seems to be some grounds for hoping that the main parties will not be overly tempted to be led onto the terrain where UKIP seems to have planted itself.   There’s a consensus, at least at the more liberal ends of both Labour and the Conservatives, that tough talk on immigration will only remind voters of what they perceive as the failures of two successive governments, and of the fact that an alternative on the hard right is there for anyone wanting to make that choice....
Don Flynn Sep 28, 2014 Comments: 2
The Tories already look battered even before their conference in Birmingham has properly got underway. Maybe a bold new initiative on immigration, ditching the failed policies of the past five years, will reawaken interest in their progressive credentials?
There’s an oft-told fable about the sparrow, frozen on a cold winters day, who tumbles in a dead faint from a high up tree branch. Fortunately its fall is broken as it drops into a soft, newly excreted cow-pat.
Awale Olad Sep 24, 2014
At a fringe meeting organised by the All-Party Parliamentary on Migration & the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper threw the gauntlet down to right-wing politicians and commentators, threatening to wrest back the strangle-hold they have on immigration.
Cooper announced three key policies that will be pursued by a Labour Government in 2015: 1.) No net migration target and removing students from net migration. The Conservatives have been hell-bent on achieving their net migration target of ‘tens of thousands’, which is now very unlikely with net migration sitting firmly at 243,000. Labour will not pursue an overall target but will have different targets for key areas. The targets remain unspecified. 2.) A Europe-wide migration impact fund. The fund will address major problems EU member-states are facing from freedom of movement. The domestic migration impacts fund was ended by the Coalition Government in 2010.
Don Flynn Sep 21, 2014
MRN will be out and about at the fringes of the party conferences again this autumn, sniffing out clues as to the way they will be squaring up to immigration in the General Election due in May next year. Here's our take on the options for the Labour Party.
The annual round of party conferences is underway once again, with Labour being camped out in Manchester for the next few days.
Ruth Grove-White Sep 12, 2014 Comments: 3
A week before Scotland goes to the polls, the outcome of the independence referendum seems too close to call. But what could be its implications for immigration policy?
Next Thursday's independence referendum has galvanised the population of Scotland, leading to hot debate over the issues likely to shape the future of the British Isles. Migrant and BME groups in Scotland, too, have been actively debating the implications of independence in recent weeks. Some international migrants living in Scotland will be eligible to cast their votes in the referendum, including those who have naturalised as British citizens and qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland.
Awale Olad Sep 8, 2014 Comments: 5
Migrants Rights Network is the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration (APPG on Migration), which supports cross-party parliamentarians with their work in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. Previously the APPG launched an inquiry into the impact of the closure of the family migration route and is now looking into the closure of the post-study work route (PSWR).
The APPG has been running an inquiry looking into the closure of the post-study work route, the visa route that used to allow international students to work for up to two years after their studies, which the Coalition Government closed in 2012. Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May at the time said the route was being abused by “foreign graduates staying on in the UK to work in unskilled jobs”.  May also added that at a time of high unemployed rates amongst domestic students, allowing non-EEA students open access to the UK’s labour market would be inappropriate.
Don Flynn Sep 8, 2014 Comments: 10
At the end of August The Guardian asked about acceptable alternatives to the term 'illegal migrant' for the use of which they were heavily criticised by a number of groups, including MRN. In a letter to the editor sent last week, we set out reasons why they should drop the term.
Last month the readers' editor of the Guardian Chris Elliot published a response  in which he conceded many of the points made in the complaint sent by a number of groups, but suggested that alternatives to the term would possibly be perceived as being clumsy and inelegant. He invited readers to assist with their suggestions on the best form of language. Artwork: Faviana Rodriguez
Don Flynn Sep 1, 2014 Comments: 35
The by-election in the Essex seaside town might set the tone for campaigning on the issue of immigration during the 2015 General Election. Some basic facts here to begin the discussion as to why a town with few immigrants should be so concerned about immigration....
The looming by-election at Clacton-on-Sea is likely to prove memorable for a number of reasons. The first is that it is overwhelmingly likely to provide us with the first UKIP candidate elected as a Member of Parliament. 
Awale Olad Sep 1, 2014
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration will be holding fringe meetings at the party conferences this year with some high profile speakers including Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP.
The APPG on Migration has teamed up with the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) at the Labour Party Conference with Yvette Cooper MP, the Shadow Home Secretary, as a keynote speaker at a fringe meeting discussing how Labour can deliver progressive immigration policy fit for modern Britain. With MRN’s Don Flynn, the APPG on Migration’s Paul Blomfield, ippr’s Tim Finch, and Ernst & Young’s Margaret Burton, this meeting will certainly be a fiery encounter between the UK’s leading voices on immigration, social, and business policy.
Ruth Grove-White Aug 28, 2014 Comments: 1
Today has brought bad news for the government’s net migration target, but the increase in immigration levels in the year to March 2014 is far from cause for despair.
Today’s quarterly immigration statistics would have been bad enough on their own. Rather than falling steadily towards the level of the tens of thousands promised by the government, the latest dispatch from the Office of National Statistics shows that net migration rose to 243,000 during the year to March 2014.This was a 39% increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months and means that it now looks all but impossible for the government to meet its net migration target before the May 2015 general election.