Blog

Maryam Pasha Dec 22, 2014
As a presenting partner, it gives us great pleasure to announce TEDxEastEnd 2015 - an annual event exploring the relationship between economy, culture, technology, society and borders.
One of my favorite things to do over the holidays is to catch-up on all the TED Talks that I’ve wanted to watch over the year, but just couldn’t find the time for. Back in 2011 when Jan and I were discussing a theme for the first TEDxEastEnd we had no idea how much interest there would be - both from speakers and participants - in the idea of “society beyond borders”. Four years later we are about to hold our 4th sold-out event on 24 January 2015 with over 20 speakers and performers all exploring the idea of ‘society beyond borders’ from all different angles - including: economics, mathematics, satellite technology, gender, health, migration, coding, etc. There are still a few tickets let for TEDxEastEnd 2015, you can get them online here: http://www.tedxeastend.com/2015event/ Here are my favorite 5 migration related videos (and a few others just for fun!)...
Awale Olad Dec 22, 2014
It seems that 2014 will end with yet more news on immigration. This time it involves the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and her push to change the immigration rules in order to require that all international students graduating at UK universities leave the country on completion of their course.
MRN closed the year a full 12 months ago with an account of a ‘rag, tag and bobtail’ Parliamentary debate on immigration which took place in Westminster Hall.
Don Flynn Dec 22, 2014
2015 will be a testing year for anyone who is working on migration; but test away.
Favourite Christmas song?  No-brainer for me. Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ captures my mood at this time of the year. Plaintive, battered by disappointment (you have to watch Meet me in St Louis for the context) but strangely and even absurdly hopeful that things will turn out alright in the end.
Don Flynn Dec 15, 2014 Comments: 1
In a speech today Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party will make it a criminal offence for employers to undercut wages of workers by exploiting migrants. But if he is serious about wanting to fight low wages and exploitation Mr Miliband should forget exaggerated claims about migration and force open the books of poverty pay companies!
Ed Miliband today announced plans for a new law to stop the exploitation of workers, which leads to workers’ wages and conditions being undercut. Speaking in Great Yarmouth, he said that the next Labour government would introduce rules to tackle the impact of immigration on the economy, social security system and the communities. 
Don Flynn Dec 15, 2014
Need a good book to get you through the holiday season or one to use as a Christmas stocking filler for your migration obsessed friends? Here’s a list of books on migration passed around the MRN office in 2014.
Here’s a few notes on the most interesting of the books I’ve been looking through this past year. This year’s list is organised by topics, rather than as last year's more straightforward “Top 5 picks”. That felt more appropriate given a high number of excellent new books and the broad scope of subjects covered. But if you happen to be short of time, do not despair, there's a “Best book of 2014” recommendation at the end of this blog. Happy reading!
Clara Dublanc Dec 3, 2014
Open Generation, a MRN project working with young voters, is looking for young creative outspoken individuals to become the Voices of our Generation to speak up ahead of the next National elections in May 2015.
We are worried that values that promote diversity, freedom of movement and multiculturalism are being eroded and that we are becoming a less open society. We want to defend a society that defines itself beyond national borders, where differences are considered essential to our community and being extraordinary is an advantage. We are tired of being fed fear of foreigners and differences; only by being open we can improve our lives. We are looking for open-minded people that want to speak up and tell our political class what is the society we want to live in!
Ruth Grove-White Nov 28, 2014 Comments: 2
Today's speech from the Prime Minister has made a pitch for a new tough approach on EU migrant access to welfare, but it has taken us further away from the evidence-based debate on immigration that we need.
David Cameron's speech on EU migration, delivered earlier today, was as hotly awaited as any political speech in recent months. In the wake of two recent UKIP wins in by-elections and in the run-up to the May 2015 General Election, the Conservatives were widely expected to punch back with a bold statement which laid out what a Tory government would push for in terms of EU immigration reform.
Don Flynn Nov 24, 2014 Comments: 1
The thinktank British Future created a stir last week with the publication of its new book, How to talk about immigration.
It is clear that, given the current febrile state of the public mood, a lot of damage can be done by talking about immigration in ways that are insensitive to many people’s anxieties. Times are exceptionally hard for so many people - wage earners in particular are feeling the squeeze of an economy which has blocked off any rise in their living standards for most of a decade. Commonsense, that age-old foe of critical thinking, tells citizens that immigration must have something to do with this unhappy state of affairs. If there is good evidence which shows that this is not the case then we have to find the best way to get this across to the people who would benefit from knowing the true facts.
Awale Olad Nov 21, 2014
Lots happened this week in the dizzying world of immigration and British and American politics. Here’s my brief round-up of the goings-on this week.
UKIP’s 271st target seat becomes second Tory casualty Is Nigel Farage and his people’s army, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), about to storm 10 Downing Street? A highly unlikely scenario but the bruising win in Rochester and Strood that Tory defector Mark Reckless delivered on David Cameron yesterday is piling unimaginable pressure on the Prime Minister with threats of more defections haunting him.
Momtaz Rahman Nov 17, 2014
Two Immigration Act Workshops organised by MRN and ILPA with a large number of migrant community groups raised widespread concerns about local service providers in our communities being at the heart of immigration enforcement. MRN has teamed up with RAMFEL to hold a public meeting to discuss how we can come together to address the discrimination and community tensions which loom ahead.
Last Wednesday MRN launched the Migrant Manifesto for the Our Vote Campaign at the inspiring Black Chronicles exhibition at Rivington Place. Of the six calls in the Migrant Manifesto, Call 5 is to end the hostile environment created by immigration enforcement. The Immigration Act is a key piece of recent legislation which bring a new layer to the usual centrally Home Office pushed immigration enforcement (in the form of raids or Go Home Vans) to a disturbing decentralised immigration enforcement programme which places local service providers in our communities at the heart of immigration enforcement.  
Ruth Grove-White Nov 17, 2014
This Thursday’s by-election in Rochester and Strood seems set to deliver a second UKIP MP into Westminster. In the build-up we have once again seen political scaremongering about immigration in the name of ‘addressing public concerns’. Surely there is another way forward...
In fact, analysis by British Future trailed in the Guardian this weekend reconfirms that public views on immigration are more reasonable and less polarized than we would think from listening to our political leaders. Chiming with previous research in this area, 25% of the public is identified as cosmopolitans who are inherently comfortable with immigration as it stands and a further 50% as the ‘anxious middle’ who are not anti-migrant per se, but primarily disillusioned with political management of immigration and concerned about its local impacts.
Don Flynn Nov 10, 2014 Comments: 2
We heard last week that recent migrants have contributed £20 billion to UK revenues. But the real gains from migration will come when newcomers can take their place in the fight against inequality and xenophobia.
Last week’s report from academics at University College London on the fiscal impacts of migration to the UK is just the latest in a whole sequence which has made the case that, far from being a charge on the taxpayer, the migration that developed over the course of the 2000s, has brought in a cohort of net contributors.
Ruth Grove-White Nov 7, 2014 Comments: 2
On Wednesday 12 November, we will be launching the new Our Vote 2015 campaign, which will bring groups together to call for a fair approach to immigration in the next general election. Ahead of that, here is the final Migrant Manifesto instalment, which calls for international students coming here to be treated fairly and with dignity.
In recent years, successive Governments have undermined the rights of international students studying in the UK. With education one of the UK’s most important import sectors, this group of foreign nationals is estimated to be worth £8 billion to the UK economy each year. However, as reforms affecting international students have taken effect, the number of overseas higher education entrants has declined.   A number of policy changes have made it more difficult for both applicants and academic sponsors to navigate the system. Universities and colleges are now under greater pressure to scrutinise international students in the UK, including checking immigration documents and reporting their whereabouts to the Home Office. This has resulted in some students feeling intimidated by immigration checks and singled out for different treatment than their peers.  
Ruth Grove-White Nov 3, 2014
This week, debate about the role of migrant workers - particularly from the European Union - continues. The fifth instalment of our upcoming Migrant Manifesto calls for widespread measures to end the exploitation of migrant workers in the UK.
People coming to the UK from overseas are too often at risk of being abused by employers, gangmasters and employment agencies, who may seek to take advantage of their skills, energy and willingness to work. Exploitation of foreign workers commonly takes place in low-paid and often casual work, within a range of sectors including construction, social care, cleaning and hospitality. Workers in these sectors are often subject to zero hours contracts and poor treatment including underpayment of wages, hazardous working conditions and long hours. Some people, and in particular some migrant workers, experience criminal levels of exploitation including bonded labour and slave-like conditions at work.
Don Flynn Nov 3, 2014 Comments: 7
The Government’s decision to back down from rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean is driven by the flawed notion that the size and scale of the traffic is dictated by people smugglers. They are wrong. It is a classic refugee crisis that is forcing tens of thousands to flee for their lives.
Public debate on the crisis in the Mediterranean has this week presented a dismaying and misleading image of the people who are making desperate efforts to get to the safety of Europe. This seems to be deeply embedded in the viewpoints of government ministers who last week announced they would be abandoning future rescue efforts to save those in trouble on Europe's seas.