The pathway to settlement in the UK has been much debated by politicians and policy makers over the ten years of MRN’s work. The thrusts of the position favoured by these authorities is that it should be made more demanding, with greater opportunities for government departments to intervene to refuse citizenship and a secure residence status.
MRN has countered this approach with evidence which shows that goal of integration is best served by cIear and straightforward processes and procedures which are reasonable from the standpoint of migrant both as individuals and the communities they live in. We have been sharply critical of frequent changes to the route to settlement which governments have pursued by lengthening periods of limited leave to reside, changing the principles that underpin ‘knowledge of life in the UK’ tests, and stiffening English language requirements.
Using evidence from research on migrant pathways into integration, and paying particular attention to the value of bringing newcomers into the democratic life of communities at a reasonably earlier date, we advocated for a route to citizenship which was experienced by migrants as a process of increasing empowerment, rather than an obstacle course which was continually shifting and changing.
Our work in this area has included:
- Partnership with the Migrant and Refugee Community Forum to produce the reports, Strangers or Citizens? Refugee and migrant participation in local political processes in London and Should citizenship be earned through compulsory volunteering?
- Partnership with the Centre on the Dynamic of Ethnicity to produce the report Migrant Voters in the 2015 General Election.
- Briefing papers and submissions to inquiries on the risks to the integration of EU migrants as a consequence of the Brexit vote.