Since the Referendum the narrative surrounding the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU has been overwhelmingly shaped by the views of British Brexiteers and Remainers, both sides purporting who they believe it will affect, how it will affect them, what is to be lost and what is to be gained. But often missing within the debate are the views of migrants and their communities,with little space in the debate given to their thoughts on the outcome of the vote and the significance it’s impact may have on their lives. To begin to address this and ensure migrants’ voices are included in the discussion, the Migrants’ Rights Network later this week will be publishing the Migrants’ Perspectives on Brexit and UK Immigration Policies.
BY ANNA ROGUSKI
Inclusion of Migrant Voices
Through the introduction of the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016, recent years have seen the UK’s immigration policy become increasingly restrictive – something that looks set to increase with the Government’s plans to end freedom of movement by March 2019. Yet migrant voices and perspectives are regularly excluded from the discussion around migration, both within UK politics and media.
Geeta, an EU National coordinating The Outsider Project in Wolverhampton said, ‘At a time when the rights of migrants are increasingly under threat it’s vital to ensure their voices are included in the discussions that will shape their ability to live, work or study in the UK in the future. This report plays an important role in highlighting migrants’ perspectives on Brexit and immigration policies, and presents recommendations from migrant communities to improve the narrative around migration and build strong relationships between migrant and non-migrant communities.’
Through the publication of The Migrants’ Perspectives on Brexit and UK Immigration Policies, The Outsider Project has concentrated on gathering the migrant voices and perspectives around Brexit and immigration policy. Working with migrant communities in Barking and Dagenham, Boston, Oldham and Wolverhampton – areas that had a majority leave vote in the Referendum and have a high non-UK born population – The Outsider Project’s Listening Campaign recorded the views of 277 migrants regarding Brexit, the UK’s immigration policies and key issues facing their communities. These responses, plus further exploration of the issues during local focus groups at the Listening Campaign’s conclusion, shaped the report’s findings and recommendations.
The report will demonstrate that the majority of migrants felt people in their local area spoke negatively about migration and voted leave in the Referendum to reduce the number of migrants either locally or in the UK. It will also highlight that migrants’ uncertainty with regards to their right to remain post -Brexit, and that hate incidences have increased since the EU Referendum.
The report will also show the difficulties migrants encounter when trying to access information about their right to live, work and study in the UK, and the perception of the UK’s immigration policies as unfair, restrictive or negative. The impact of immigration enforcement on migrants’ mental health, along with the fear of detention or deportation, are also covered.
Finally, the report focuses on migrants’ thoughts on the economic contributions they make to the UK and the misconceptions they believe surround this, as well as housing and homelessness, and the exploitation of migrant workers. Throughout the report there were intersecting issues, particularly to do with language barriers and building stronger community relationships.
From its findings, the Migrants’ Perspectives on Brexit and UK Immigration Policies report will present a number of recommendations for policy and decision makers, service providers, organisations and local communities.
In all four locations migrants’ are keen to address issues they face in their day-to-day lives, such as housing, and access to information on their rights, whilst building stronger relationships betweens local migrant and non-migrant communities.
The report will outline further the specific recommendations that migrants’ want to act upon in each of their localities, and their keenness to work with the wider communities to address these issues, and encourages policy and decision makers, service providers and organisations to do the same.
For more information on The Outsider Project or the results of the Listening Campaign, please email [email protected]
Anna Roguski is the Outsider Project Manager at MRN