This week, MRN submitted evidence to the consultation for the New Plan for Immigration. While we welcomed the opportunity to participate in the consultation process, the consultation design left us with significant concerns. In particular, if the consultation is meant to be genuine, why is the New Immigration Bill being announced in the Queen’s Speech on the 11th of May, only 5 days after the consultation has closed?
The consultation design is a survey format that is built around the New Plan for Immigration’s chapters. There is some space to respond to open questions at the end of each section, but the survey design leaves minimal room for disagreement. Each question is asked with the presumption that respondents agree with the proposals, where you are asked to rate how effectively the changes will reflect the government’s aims. In addition, the consultation makes it extremely difficult for those with lived experience, such as survivors of exploitation, to contribute to the consultation. The survey is only available in English and the website itself is quite challenging to navigate. Therefore, it is our belief that the consultation is not designed for meaningful engagement.
Despite our disappointment with the consultation process, we believe that it’s important to speak out through the means that we do have. We offered evidence in relation to the criminalisation of migrants, the undermining of the UK’s ‘modern slavery’ agenda, and the changes regarding how an asylum applicant will be assessed. We will continue to mobilise and challenge the issues raised in the New Plan for Immigration and will continue to hold policy makers to account to the long-established international agreements and frameworks that protect all migrants.
If you are interested in responding to the consultation, a number of organisations have produced helpful guides that you can refer to:
- Question by question guide by Leeds Anti-raids network here
- Women for Refugee Women guide
- Briefing by Families Together
- Faith perspective by Joint Public Issues Information
- Overview of asylum changes support by ASAP
- The role and rights of victims of crime, best practice report by Sisters for Change
- Family reunion briefing by Families Together
If you would like to discuss working together on challenging any of the issues raised within the New Plan for Immigration, please get in touch at: [email protected].