As the UK prepares to negotiate its withdrawal from the European Union, the General Election offers a clear opportunity for the UK to examine many of its current policies, both domestically and internationally.
Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) believes that a reformed immigration system should be at the centre of this. We believe a shift away from the net migration target, which has shown to be unworkable and treats people as numbers instead of humans with rights would signal the start of a more progressive immigration system. MRN calls on government, political parties and candidates to work towards an immigration system that is accessible, fair and works for everyone.
Finally, as parliament is dissolved and campaigning starts in earnest, we urge political parties and candidates to refrain from using language that is divisive and inflammatory, and speak in a way that promotes respect for all.
MRN calls on political parties, candidates and the government to ensure:
An immigration system that makes sense, is fair and transparent to all
- We call on the government to establish a rights-based approach to immigration, one where individuals can claim their rights, and are at the centre of migration policy.
- We call on the government to reinstate legal aid for immigration cases, and offer access to justice by restoring in-country appeal rights.
An immigration system that offers security and allows people to build their lives in the UK without fear
- We call on the government to ensure that residency and access to the labour market for EU nationals will be protected after the UK leaves the European Union.
- We call for alternatives to immigration detention, which allow people to contribute to society.
A society where barriers to participation are removed, with opportunities for all, so no individuals or communities are left out
- We call on the government to ensure education and employment services are available to migrants and refugees so they can fully participate in community life.
- We call on the government to ensure that family migration rules offer children the right to live with their parents, and for couples to be able to live together without the burden of financial thresholds.
To lead a society free from hostility; where teachers check homework not pupils’ nationalities; doctors check pulses not passports; police protect minorities rather than suspecting them
- We call on the government to stop outsourcing immigration enforcement to public services, civil society and individuals.
- We call on the government to take action to reverse the negative rhetoric of immigration, whilst acting upon xenophobic speech, both in the media, and the wider political sphere, and end the use of immigration as a scapegoat for other issues
A society that sees migrant workers as human beings, and more than just cogs in our economy
- We call on the government to maintain and extend the rights of workers of all nationalities to change job, be joined by family members, and to access public services.
- We call on the government to ensure that migrants are not exploited in the workforce and have access to justice, regardless of their immigration status.
As you attend hustings, and engage with canvassers, here are some questions to ask of candidates:
- Will you support a rights-based approach to developing immigration policy in a post Brexit Britain?
- Will you seek to secure the rights of EU nationals, and those here in the UK under EU law before Brexit?
- Migrant workers play a significant role in the UK’s labour force, what assurances will you offer to protect them from exploitation, and have their rights respected?
- There has been a significant increase of reported hate-crimes against migrants and minorities in the UK since the EU referendum? What will you be doing to speak out and combat this?
- Asylum seekers are often left in very precarious circumstances, through delays in the appeals process, not having the right to work and arbitrary detention. How can you ensure they are offered better conditions, and rights recognised?