Blog

Don Flynn Nov 28, 2016
The ‘hostile environment’ took another step to consolidate itself in the public sector last week. Patronising and banal in many ways, it is nevertheless a threat to the rights of migrant workers involved in providing public services
The provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 are now rapidly rolling out, stripping many important rights from migrants and refugees as they do so. The English or Welsh language requirements for public sector workers came into force on 21 November.  A Code of Practice directed to public sector employers sets out what is expected from them. The workers who will need to meet these standards of language are all staff who work in customer-facing roles including permanent and fixed-term employees, apprentices, self-employed contractors, agency temps, police officers and service personnel.
Gracie Bradley Nov 21, 2016
Gracie Bradley, Project Manager at MRN, talks about the hat that she wears when she isn’t running the Route To Your Rights project - coordinator of the Against Borders for Children campaign.
The collection of nationality and country of birth data in schools and nurseries was a change in policy announced without much fanfare last spring. The government intended to link this new data to other information such as address and ethnicity that is held in the National Pupil Database (NPD). The NPD contains the records of around 20 million people. The data is never deleted, and identifiable information on individual pupils is accessible to the Home Office, the police, and third parties such as researchers and the press.
Don Flynn Nov 14, 2016
A recently-launched London Chamber of Commerce report called for a ‘London Visa’ for migrants seeking jobs in the capital. But what about the rest of the country? Could visas adjusted to meet the needs of the economy across all regions of the economy help change direction for immigration policy?
  The idea of a regional visa is currently the subject of much discussion after a number of years in which it was discounted as impractical. 
Don Flynn Nov 7, 2016
Make sure 20 February is in your diary for a UK-wide day of action in solidarity with migrants. Here are some ideas on how we can increase the impact of this action and ensure its success.
The #1DayWithUs initiative that emerged from journalist Matt Carr’s Facebook post in response to the rhetoric at the Conservative Party conference in October is the most hopeful sign yet that resistance to the planned actions to strip millions of migrants of their rights is building up. From the vague idea that some sort of protest should be mounted, it is now taking the form of a definite plan to call for actions to support migrants right across the UK.
Don Flynn Oct 31, 2016
The rush to write the UK’s immigration policy for the post-Brexit epoch might well be unwise given the fact that so many of the major stakeholders have yet to show their hand
The referendum vote in favour of Brexit has encouraged the sense that the UK is at ‘year zero’ when it comes to many areas of social and economic policy.  Everything that has gone before can be regarded as de facto scrapped and the future is there to be seized by those with the boldest imaginations and brightest visions of just what may be possible.
Don Flynn Oct 24, 2016
The Jungle camp in Calais has challenged the indifference of official Europe to the plight of refugees for close on two decades. It has survived previous attempts at demolition. As long as the grievances that gave rise to remain it will come back to haunt the conscience of the continent.
As you read this CRS police squads, acting on French government orders, will once again be destroying the make-shift homes and personal property of the 9000 people who are trying to survive in the Calais refugee camp. They have returned to this task sporadically over the years.  In April 2009 a determined effort to close the camp led to the arrest of 109, with bulldozers destroying the tents of around 800 refugees. 
Don Flynn Oct 17, 2016
The Scottish government has promised a fight to defend freedom of movement as the UK moves towards Brexit. Why is the issue of immigration viewed so differently by politicians and voters on the north and south sides of the border?
If we take the not uncontroversial step of assuming that the way people voted in the referendum serves as a reasonable proxy for judging their view on immigration, then at least one intriguing question arises. Why does the city of Sunderland in England feel so differently about these matters than Glasgow? In June’s referendum voters in English cities voted for Brexit by 61% to 39%.  Glasgow voted 67% in favour of remaining, with 33% wanting out. Why the difference? According to a North East Strategic Migration Partnership profile, with ‘people born abroad’ making up only 3% of the city’s population at the time of the last census, Sunderland has one of the lowest rates of inward migration of any major urban area in the UK.
Don Flynn Oct 10, 2016
The policy pronouncements at the Conservative conference show how far the government is prepared to go to turn migration into a rights-free zone. Both EU and the third country migrants will lose out under these plans. We need a campaign that unites them all if rights are to be preserved.
The immigration policies which Theresa May and her home secretary, Amber Rudd, revealed at the Conservative party conference last week seem to have got short shrift from just about everyone. 
Don Flynn Oct 3, 2016
Gasps of faux shock greeted the parts of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech that dealt with immigration at his party’s conference last week. It shouldn’t have. In breaking with the anti-immigrant consensus he outlined an approach that will help draw much of the toxicity out of the public debate.
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour conference last week threw a large stone into the otherwise undisturbed waters of the mainstream political consensus on immigration. His refusal to join the chorus of calls for even more draconian controls over the right to move across borders is seen by some as more evidence of how out of touch he is with the public mood.
Don Flynn Sep 25, 2016
The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has put the ball in the party's court when it comes of immigration policy. Can it come up with something that addresses the needs and concerns of both those ‘left behind’ and the insurgents with more cosmopolitan visions and hopes?
Labour’s annual conference, has at least (surely!) settled the matter of who is going to be leading it up until the next general election – whenever that might be. Many other issues remain unresolved, including the one which has most vexed such a large part of its traditional working class support base – immigration.   The arguments around the role that immigration has played in eroding support for Labour have been gone through too many times to need repetition here.  In brief, I should mention that there is a belief that the large-scale migration to the UK after 2004 has had a negative impact on the wages and working conditions of at least a significant segment of the working class as well as the more general sense that it has all happen just too fast.
Don Flynn Sep 19, 2016
After two decades of failing to end the world’s refugee crisis it would be nice to see some evidence that political leaders gathering in New York today would at least have a sense of what isn’t working. News reports ahead of Theresa May’s big speech suggest that, for her at least, that is not the case.
With news programmes leading this morning on PM Theresa May’s intention to make a big, bold speech to the UN high level summit on migration in New York hopes might be raised that something new is going to be said. After all, Mrs May is just the person to say it.  Her long period in office as the UK’s home secretary has seen her struggling with the realities of migration as it takes place in the world today and she must have learnt a great deal since 2010 when she was confident that the movement of people into the country could be reduced to the ‘tens of thousands’. Unfortunately it seems that she seems to be intent on returning to a script that Tony Blair tried delivering to gatherings of international leaders back in the early ‘noughties. 
Alina Müller Sep 12, 2016
Many migrants have to live with the experience of a double-jeopardy: vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous employers and also the threat of enforcement action of immigration officials. What happen when these twin oppressions come together in the workplace? And how can its often grievous effects be challenged?
The cooperation of the management of Byron Hamburger’s with Home Office immigration enforcement officers in a sting operation earlier in the summer symbolises everything that can go wrong for migrant workers when employment law and immigration policy merge. For many people with deep inside knowledge about the vulnerable position of migrants in the UK today, the key issues are unfair immigration regulations and harsh exploitation of workers. The type of collaboration with enforcement measures that the Home Office expects from employers when it comes to policing their workforces adds to the risks for migrant workers today.
Don Flynn Sep 5, 2016
The capacity of global society to generate crises out of the migration of people is reaching ever greater heights. The UN Summit later this month ought to send out the message that panic is not necessary and solutions are within our grasp.
The High Level Summit (HLS) taking place at the United Nations in New York on 19 September is a timely reminder that immigration is not just an issue that affects the UK, but involves the whole world. The discussion on that day, involving “heads of state, government and high representatives” of the UN’s members will focus on safety and dignity in policies which address “large movements of refugees and migrants”.
Don Flynn Aug 30, 2016
Racial inequality is still 'entrenched' for many migrants, their children and grandchildren, according to a recent authoritative report. New PM Theresa May's equality race audit has got a lot of work to do if it is to convince that it is a serious attempt to overcome the "burning injustice" that ethnic minority and migrant communities face.
The report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) in mid-August which found evidence of 'entrenched' race inequality in many areas, including education and health has provided the basis for the government’s latest, and to some a rather surprising initiative. 
Gracie Bradley Aug 17, 2016
We hear a lot about vulnerable migrants. We hear a lot less about what actually makes a migrant vulnerable. Can you only be vulnerable if you’re a woman, or a child, or the survivor of a traumatic experience? Is vulnerable something that only certain kinds of migrant can be?