Theresa May’s Immigration Act and ‘Hostile Environment’ policies continues to have a detrimental effect on migrant communities and their ability to access housing, jobs, healthcare and welfare support in the UK. Divisive Government and media narratives about the ‘bad immigrant’ has also created an intolerance to migrant communities and created an environment of fear people living in these communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this by impacting both individuals and families, with some loosing vital household income due to the loss of employment of being furloughed as their employment is not conducive to working remotely. This has caused fear to those who do not have the right to claim benefits (No Recourse to Public Funds) and are at risk of contracting or spreading the virus due to working conditions, to continue to work or face destitution.
People with No Recourse to Public Funds attached to their visa’s are particularly vulnerable because;
- If they lose their job, have reduced hours or pay they cannot rely on the safety net of housing benefits to cover rent. This may lead to them taking decisions to work even if it puts their health and thus public health at risk.
- They are more likely to be renting informally or staying with friends and therefore may not enjoy the current protection of suspension on evictions. Sharing facilities in smaller or overcrowded accommodation also heightens their risk to covid-19.
- They may be afraid to access healthcare even if they are entitled to it.
- Undocumented children and their parents are at even greater risk, Mayor of London research estimated 100,000 live in London many staying with friends or working informally, their safety is even more limited.
Migrant communities are also extremely diverse and support services cannot offer blanket advice without understanding the individuals and their communities. It is extremely difficult to navigate the current immigration system and access support services from organisations that understand your particular set of circumstances, be it language, physical, mental, religious/cultural barriers.
How we can help
Migrants’ Rights & Campaigning Workshop
MRN are also offering support through our ‘Know Your Rights’ training & campaigning workshop. Which aims to help migrants understand their rights and how to assert themselves in 8 key areas of everyday life: banking, driving, education, employment, health, housing, social services, and detention and deportation and also how to advocate for themselves.
The benefit of the workshop is that it is a safe, confidential space to share and connect with people who are having a similar experience.
The sessions will run from 1-3pm on each day. For more information please contact:
- Mahlea Babjak: [email protected]