Migrants' Rights Network

Irregularity and Enforcement

The enforcement policies of the Home Office have important implications for the wellbeing of migrant communities in the UK.  MRN has used evidence to challenge the idea that the irregular immigration status arises from the delinquent behaviour of migrant individuals.  Rather, it accounts for it in the structure of migration management policies, which are in a state of constant flux and continual re-drafting in such ways as to present migrants with procedures and processes which are always changing and generating conflicting messages about what constitutes behaviour that is compliant with the requirements of immigration rules.

We have developed this analysis in line with our participation in PICUM (the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants).  Our position on this has been set out in the report Irregular Migration: the urgent need for a new approach.  

Other activities under this strand of work over the past ten years have included:

  • A roundtable organised with the Scottish Trades Union Congress on on enforcing immigration rules in Scotland.
  • Publication of a Briefing Paper, MRN briefing paper on Enforcement Policy – The heart of managed migration?
  • A roundtable organised in Cardiff on the next step in immigration control policy in Wales.
  • A conference organised with the Moroccan human rights organisation, ABCDS on migrants at Europe’s external borders.
  • Several briefing papers on immigration enforcement against migrant workers.
  • Publication of a set of factsheets on Factsheet on the expulsion of homeless EEA nationals.
  • The Know Your Rights Guide– a simplified guide for migrants on aspects of the Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016.

In response of the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016 we have also developed a strand of work entitled ‘Everyday Borders’.  This has looked at the implications of an immigration control system which is increasingly centred on the enforcement of immigration controls in local communities and the ways in which third parties, such as employers, landlords and banks, are drawn into this process.

In developing this project we worked with the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London.  This collaboration involved the production of a 50 minute long documentary on the theme of ‘Everyday Borders.’  Others involved in the partnership were the Students Union at SOAS, Bangladeshi Restaurant Association, Southall Black Sisters, Doctors of the World, and Refugee and Migrant Forum East London and Essex.  The film toured the UK and provided opportunities for MRN staff to expand on our concerns about enforcement policies to audiences in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and London.

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