Asylum policy and support
Our members advocate for policy and practice that recognises why people need sanctuary, respects the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, provides humane and appropriate support, allows the dignity of work, removes the risk of destitution at move on and provides equivalent support for those recognised as refugees whatever route they arrived into the UK.
Members use their collective voice to campaign for change, respond to consultations and identify what works and what could work better as new programmes are rolled out.
And they support policy making initiatives that seek to hear directly from people with lived experience.
Here are some examples of their work:
Campaigning to restore the right to work for asylum seekers
We led a regional campaign with the Northern TUC as part of the national ‘Let Us Work’ campaign to allow asylum seekers the dignity of supporting themselves and their family through work. Watch our video to find out what we did.
Our members spoke out about the impact on themselves and their families of not being allowed to work. Click here to read their testimonies and watch our film to hear how they feel
BBC North East filmed with us for the Politics Show
More photos from our campaigning. A special thanks to Samouka, Lusine and Elvis for taking the lead.
In 2018 we joined the national Lift the Ban campaign coalition led by Refugee Action. Our members contributed much of the evidence contained in the report that launched the campaign, which you can read here.
Supporting processes through which national policy makers can hear the voice of lived experience
Our members get involved in actions that enable policy makers to get closer to the lived experiences of the people they are designing policy for.
Examples of our work include:
- Contributing to research to better understand what helps young refugees to integrate. Policy Lab is a small team in the Cabinet Office that supports government departments to develop ‘human-centred policy’. Several young refugees agreed to take part in filmed ethnographies of their daily lives. The Policy Lab understands that ‘gaining first-hand insights is a necessary first step before working towards potential improvements. (They) hope the study can build greater empathy for service users within the policy making process’.
- Carrying out peer led research, commissioned by the North East Migration Partnership, to hear the lived experience of refugees arriving under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPR), helping to identify what works and what could work better from their perspective.
- Submitting our views to national consultation calls, including the design of Home Office asylum support contracts and the Government’s New Plan for Immigration.
- Collaborating with national NGOs, such as with Detention Action to produce the North East’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry on the use of immigration detention in the UK
Closing the ‘move on’ gap for new status refugees
For many years we have advocated for systematic access to housing and employment support for those granted refugee status from asylum claims and for that support to have equity with that provided to resettled refugees. With only 28 days to move out of Home Office accommodation and end their weekly support payments, there is a high risk of avoidable destitution.
- Worked with the region’s DWP to submit a proposal to the Home Office for a practical offer of Move on support that could be systematically and equally available to all new status refugees. A pilot was trialled by the Home Office and DWP in the North East, Yorkshire & Humberside and then rolled out nationally as the ‘Post-Grant Appointment Service’.
- We joined advocacy for a more comprehensive Move on support service to be part of the statement of requirements when the Home Office re-designed its support contracts from 2019. The AIRE contract included a telephone accessed Positive Move on Advice service.
- We contributed recommendations to the design of one of 4 pilot employment, housing and integration support services commissioned by the Home Office under ‘RTOF’, which became North East RISE.
Contributing to European advocacy for the rights of refugees
Members shared our concerns and recommendations with the European Council on Refugees and Exile (ECRE) in Brussels and visited the European Parliament.to understand more about how it functions and the role of MEPs.