Blog

Momtaz Rahman Apr 20, 2015
Over the last week MRN took the Our Vote campaign out to migrant communities by working with local groups in London to organise hustings in marginal constituencies of Ealing Central and Acton and Tottenham and a voter registration canvassing event in Hampstead and Kilburn.
Against the recent backdrop of tough talk on immigration, communities are generally engaged and ready to have their say and candidates locally have more positive messages to share and even show some signs of solidarity between parties. Friday 10 April saw the first of the events in Tottenham organised with the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK and the Haringey Migrant Network with candidates Stefan Mrozinski, Conservative Party; Dee Searle, Green Party; Turnhan Ozen, Liberal Democrats; and Jenny Sutton, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
Don Flynn Apr 20, 2015 Comments: 2
The manifestos have been published and the three televised ‘leaders debates’ are done and dusted. So far public opinion seems less hostile to immigration than many anticipated. Here’s why.
Taken as a whole, the spread of pledges set out in the manifestos of the all-UK political parties are probably a good reflection of the state of thinking of the wider British public on immigration (Conservative, Labour, Green, Lib Dem and UKIP).
Clara Dublanc Apr 13, 2015
Last Friday and Saturday Open Generation took over Rivington Place building in Shoreditch for a Festival of Ideas. The Festival of Ideas, organised by Migrants Rights Network in partnership with Autograph ABP, dedicated to exploring how young people feel about migration and being a part of a global community.
While under-30s are often accused of being apathetic on issues concerning the type of society we want to live in; the Festival set out to change that perception, and to bring their to the mainstream debate. Open Generation believes that diversity and difference are what make Britain a dynamic and exciting place in which to live. The aim of the Open Generation is to set out the vision of those who have grown up with diversity and value the contribution it makes to the richness of our society.
Don Flynn Apr 7, 2015
With the first week of the general election campaign behind us there are hopefully signs that this time around immigration might get a fairer hearing from voters. We are determined to amplify the grass-roots messages through Our Vote campaign which allows everyone to write to their parliamentary candidates asking them to bring back fairness into immigration.
With over 700 letters sent within the first couple of days to candidates standing for Parliament, Our Vote website has given campaigners and supporters a chance to get the message across that a different and honest approach to immigration is needed if we are to remain a tolerant and open society.
Chai Patel Mar 30, 2015
There is a growing cross-party support to end indefinite immigration detention. What is needed now is for the sector to re-focus efforts to keep the issue on the agenda after the General Election in May.
Last week’s announcement by the shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper that a future Labour Government would ban indefinite detention of asylum and immigration applicants will be seen as a success for detention campaigners. The pledge to put a time limit on detention will now appear in the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos and the Greens and the SNP have both spoken out against the current system.
Don Flynn Mar 30, 2015
Hunkering down and hoping it will soon be over is falling out of fashion when it comes to supporters of the rights of migrants as opening shots of the election campaign are fired. Expect a big pushback against the immigration pessimists this time around.
There is something of a new mood gaining ground amongst many activists in migrant communities which is also extending to the people working in networks which bring them into contact with newcomers settling in the UK.    We are going to see a lot more of it during the course of the general election campaign which officially kicked off this morning, and here are some of the things which indicate to us that, as was once sung during a memorable election year, ‘things can only get better’. Migrants are not sitting back and taking it anymore Once a general election for people new to the UK meant keeping your head down until it was all over in the hope that life would resume its normal course. If a candidate in the constituency you lived in wanted to blame you for everything from the state of the jobs market to the declining quality of the standard British loaf you gritted your teeth and just got on with it.
Don Flynn Mar 20, 2015 Comments: 1
The blizzard of commentary that accompanies the annual budget statement also included a memo from the OBR saying “Mr Chancellor, immigration is good for us.” So will he, and other politicians, act on this message?
The news that projections for economic growth for the period ahead are being upgraded because of expectations that net immigration will continue at rates well above the targets set by government is consistent with all the views that have been coming from expert commentators in recent months.  
Don Flynn Mar 16, 2015
A little more news trickles out each week on how immigration policy is going to be dealt with by the parties as we get closer to voting day on 7th May. The latest item of any significance is Labour’s inclusion of a statement to the effect that ‘immigration will be controlled’ as the fourth of its five key commitments on its general election pledge card. .
Flip the card over and there’s a little more explanation on offer. “People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.”
Ruth Grove-White Mar 9, 2015
Last week’s launch of the cross party inquiry into the use of detention in the UK drew some much-needed attention to this critical and indefensible issue. The question is: what happens next?
In recent days we have seen a long-overdue focus on immigration detention in the UK. Although this can be a controversial immigration issue, momentum has been building across the political parties behind calls for change. But campaigners now face the challenge of keeping the spotlight on the bigger reforms that are needed.
Don Flynn Mar 1, 2015
The fact that the government failed to reach its target for reducing net migration is bad news for them, but rather good news when considered as an indication of an economy not still mired in deepest recession.
How does a government deal with bad news that isn’t really such bad news? That was the dilemma facing the spokespeople of the coalition parties last Thursday when they confronted the fact that the declared objective of driving net immigration down below the 100,000 a year mark had failed not just badly, but spectacularly badly. The ONS statistics revealed a headline figure showing that there were 298,000 more people in the UK in September 2014 that there had been 12 months previously.  There will be no more figures on this subject to argue over between polling day so the very firm conclusion is that prime minister David Cameron has failed to deliver on his famous ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge.
Awale Olad Feb 24, 2015
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration has today published its findings into the impacts of closure of the Post Study Work route in 2012. The report Committee agreed that closure of the former Tier 1 post-study work route (PSW) has had a significant impact on UK universities, business, and local economies across the UK.
In summary, the key findings of the report were:
Ruth Grove-White Feb 23, 2015 Comments: 1
We highlight five of the national immigration campaigns currently looking for your support in the run-up to 7th May 2015
With just over 70 days left until the general election, it's not just the political parties stepping up their campaigning. A number of national immigration and race equality campaigns are picking up momentum this week too. Here's some you can get behind over the coming weeks and months:
Ruth Grove-White Feb 16, 2015
Migrant rights campaigners can celebrate this week. It seems that ongoing lobbying has led the Department of Health to kick plans for new primary care charges for migrants into the long grass... Now we need to make sure they don't return in the autumn to haunt us.
The threat of a new, tougher system for regulating migrant access to healthcare has been looming for some time. Over the past two years heated talk from politicians has been supposed to warm us up to the prospect of tough new measures to tackle (the largely unevidenced existence of) 'health tourism' and to increase migrants' contributions towards the cost of their actual and/or potential use of NHS care here.  
Don Flynn Feb 16, 2015
‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’ begins the great motto on the Statue of Liberty. Here’s a new book which sets out the ways in which these self-same people can become the champions of equality in the lands in which they settle.
One of the issues that advocates of the rights of migrants have to deal with in their discussions with people active in the mainstream of politics is the important question of migration and its impacts on equality. The accusation against migration is that it is one of the weapons that the political and economic elites have used to erode the welfare and security standards which citizens have gained for themselves over the course of generations of social advance.  This progress has been embodied in an implicit social contract which is rooted in the shared experiences of a community which is explicitly national in character.   
Don Flynn Feb 7, 2015
From the trivia of form filling to callous indifference to the plight of refugees, things are getting worse for newcomers in our country. Add to this the surveillance and monitoring of their personal affairs and we can see what the official ambition for a hostile environment all adds up to.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that let you know how deep is the ordure in which we all find ourselves. An example of this hit me late last week when I found myself looking on the internet for the Home Office form that has to be used by any EU national or member of their family who wants to apply for a permanent residence card certifying their right to remain in the UK for the indefinite future. The rules on who is entitled to be issued with one of these cards is very simple: basically you need to demonstrate that you have resided in the UK in accordance with something called the EEA Regulations.  In my days as a legal caseworker the procedure was so straightforward that you could do it without using an application form at all:  a simple letter to the Home Office setting out facts that showed you had complied with the law plus around three items of documentary evidence of one sort or another were sufficient to do the job.