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MRN ‘Migrant Voices, Migrant Rights - Getting heard in the d

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:16 pm    Post subject: MRN ‘Migrant Voices, Migrant Rights - Getting heard in the d Reply with quote

From Don Flynn, Project Director, Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN)

Dear Friend

MRN ‘Migrant Voices, Migrant Rights - Getting heard in the debate on immigration and social inclusion’, London, 6th November

If you received earlier MRN News emails you will know that the network is planning a national conference event to take place in London on Monday 6th November. We hope that this will be genuine ’networking’ event - i.e. the opportunity for people to identify others working on the same issues and concerns as themselves, and to reach out to make contact and plans for common activities.

Plans for the day of discussion are still underway, but we can say that it will feature panel discussion on the current state of the government’s integration and social inclusion agendas, a review of migrant and refugee community action across the country, consideration of the way we should address the issues of undocumented migrants and the need for regularisation, and a special presentation from a colleague from the Migrants’ Rights International ( on migrant community campaigning across the globe.

Our intention is that the conference will be a genuine forum for migrant and refugee voices. To help clarify the agenda for this discussion a series of regional roundtables are being organised for community-based organisations which will take place in September and October. The schedule for the regional meetings which have been planned to date are:

20 Sep Scotland Roundtable (Glasgow) - contact Pat Elsmie at
27 Sep North West Roundtable (Manchester) - contact Farah Kurji at, or Hazel Healy at
5 Oct West Midlands Roundtable (Birmingham) - contact Arten Llazari at or Mohini Howard at
12 Oct London Roundtable - contact Nazek Ramadan at
17 Oct Wales Roundtable (Cardiff) - contact Pierrot Ngadi at

Information can also be obtained from me, contact details below. Each meeting is open to representatives of migrant and refugee community organisations and also to other organisations working with migrants and supporting their rights.

If your organisation is not in one of the five regions above and you are interested in organising a roundtable discussion in your area, please do let me know - we’d be glad to talk to you about the work of the MRN.

Regularisation: An issue that won’t go away

As we reported in our last MRN News, the possibility that the government might concede the need for a programme of regularisation for undocumented migrants seemed to have receded with the publication of the Commons Home Affairs Committee report on immigration control on 24 July. This report made an unambiguous call for a tougher attitude to enforcement, rather than regularisation.

But if the idea of regularisation appears to been given a setback, it is worthwhile to look at the proposals contained at the paper IND published in July, Fair, effective, transparent and trusted: Rebuilding confidence in our immigration system ( This is the paper which talks about ‘a new purpose’ for IND, transforming it into an entity with ‘agency status’ in April 2007. It also sets out a series of proposals to increase the enforcement capacity of the system, mainly by reducing the level of protection currently provided by the Courts and human rights conventions. However, the paper acknowledges the existence of ‘legacy cases’ which, though not defined, appear to those which have accumulated over a number of years and which have not been resolved either by an IND decision or action based on a decision.

In the recent past it has been suggested that there might be as many as 360,000 of these legacy cases. The IND paper commits itself to settling them all, either by enforcement action or granting leave to remain, over a period of five years.

The paper is not a consultation document, but it does invite ‘immediate comments’ in the issues it raises. We would suggest that migrant and community organisations up and down the country might want to use this as an opportunity to put to IND their ideas on who ought to be covered in the arrangements for granting leave to remain under the legacy procedures. It might also be the case that local government, public service providers and trades unions will have views on this issues. In the period leading up to our November network conference, the MRN will do its best to persuade organisations to look at these issues closely and consider putting in ‘immediate comments’ in the manner invited by the paper.

Migrants and social exclusion

Two important reports will be out in the next few weeks, dealing with different aspects of the social exclusion of migrants.

Get Heard Project

The Migrants Resource Centre (MRC), in collaboration with Oxfam, will shortly be publishing its report of workshops carried out as a part of the Get Heard Project.

Get Heard had its origins in discussions around the National Action Plans on Social Inclusion (NAPsi) which the UK government, along with all other EU governments, is obliged to compile and submit to the European Commission as a part of the ‘Lisbon Agenda’ processes for modernising the European single market and ensuring social inclusion. Get Heard was established by UK anti-poverty groups to ensure that communities affected by poverty could themselves input into the action plan process.

One such community that Get Heard looked at was that of migrants and refugees. Their reports on the ways in which poverty affects migrants are recorded in A stronger voice, which will be available on the 22nd September at a conference in London. The report sets out nine recommendations for measures which could be introduced by government and public service providers which would alleviate the threat of social exclusion for migrants, which include allowing asylum seekers to work, improvements to the benefits system to support migrants, and improve health and education services for migrants and refugees. For further information about the report and the conference on the 22nd September, contact Nazek Ramadan at

A8 migrants and homelessness

A second report dealing with social exclusion issues concerns the housing situation of A8 nationals in London. Published by Homeless Link, the report shows that, despite the economic benefits brought to the UK by A8 migration since May 2004, public authorities have done little to address the needs of the new migrants for adequate shelter and accommodation.

Responsibility for dealing with a growing crisis has largely fallen on homelessness services, which themselves operate with limited resources. The report calls for ‘rapid and coordinated action’, with a ‘national action plan’ formulated by government aimed at meeting housing needs.‘

The full report can be downloaded from Homeless Link’s website: <> .

Your reports and news

The MRN is keen to receive reports of projects and initiatives on issues concerning migrant communities. We hope we can assist such work by linking groups across the country and making more public the social policy agenda affecting migrants. Keeps us informed!

Don Flynn

Project Director

Migrants' Rights Network (MRN)

c/o Barrow Cadbury Trust

25-31 Tavistock Place

London WC1H 9SF

Tel: 020 7391 9229 (switchboard)

Mobile: 07845 147502

E-mail: d.flynn@barrowcadbury,
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