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The public should have more of a voice in the debate on Britain’s immigration choices after Brexit, according to a new report today from the National Conversation on Immigration, the biggest-ever public consultation on the issue – released as Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee publishes the report of its own inquiry on immigration.

Co-ordinated by British Future and Hope not Hate, the National Conversation has conducted citizens’ panels in over 40 towns and cities in every nation and region of the UK, from Southampton to Shetland. It asks citizens what they think about different flows of migration, its impacts and benefits nationally and in their local area, and what approach Britain should take to immigration after it leaves the European Union. It examines common themes as well as local differences.

It will visit a total of 60 locations overall, holding over 130 meetings with members of the public and with local stakeholders concerned with immigration.

This model of public engagement with important policy decisions is one that could be taken up by government on an ongoing basis and replicated across a range of issues.

Interim findings from conversations to date include:

  • Most of the public are ‘balancers’, seeing both pressures and gains from immigration. While there is disagreement on immigration, there is much agreement too.
  • Getting integration right and addressing local pressures on housing and schools emerged as key themes across many locations.
  • As well as some common themes there are significant differences from place to place. People view immigration, positively and negatively, through its impact on the place where they live.
  • Contribution is important: people want migrants to make a contribution to Britain, through the skills they bring, jobs they do and through taxation.
  • Participants had strikingly different views about different types of migration, such as high-skilled and low-skilled migration, international students and workers who do specific jobs such as fruit-picking and care work.
  • People lack trust in the Government to control who comes into the UK through checks to exclude criminals and enforcement of immigration rules.

The National Conversation provides an opportunity for members of the public to have their say on immigration policy after Brexit in a way that will be heard by decision-makers. Its interim findings are submitted as evidence to the Home Affairs Committee’s Inquiry. The report draws on the first 30 locations visited.

As well as the citizens’ panel, in each location the National Conversation researchers meet local organisations, councillors and business leaders to hear their views. National opinion polling will take place in 2018 and an open online survey allows everyone in the UK to have their say in the National Conversation.  A final report will be published later this year, incorporating the poll findings and survey results together with recommendations.

The 2017 Women on the Move Awards, presented by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Migrants Organise, recognised two exceptional refugees for their outstanding work to empower women.  The awards were presented on 10th March at London’s Southbank’s WOW – Women of the World Festival for International Women’s Day.

Young Woman of the Year award was given to 19 year-old Rozin Hanjool, whose family are part of the Yazidi minority group from northern Iraq. After attacks from extremist militants, they fled to the UK in 2007 when Rozin was just ten years-old.  Is 2015, while still finishing her A-levels in Coventry, Rozin started an online petition appealing to the UK Government to support and protect abducted and enslaved Yazidi girls.  Within 24 hours, the petition gathered 25,000 signatures and two years on it has now amassed over 260,000 signatures.  Rozin is determined to bring the petition back to the UK government and secure a commitment to extend urgent assistance to Yazidi girls in Iraq.  She studies law and human rights at university and campaigns actively in her free time.

Eden Habtemichael, a prominent journalist who escaped from Eritrea, was awarded Woman of the Year 2017 in recognition of her ground-breaking work to support asylum seekers and refugees in Oxfordshire. She fled to the UK in 2001 as a single mother with her two year-old daughter and applied for asylum.  Alone and scared, at one point she became homeless and destitute.  Once granted refugee status, she resolved to help other women and children in the asylum system. Eden has since worked tirelessly to find families in Oxford with spare rooms willing to host a refugee so that no one has to face destitution like her and her daughter.  Two teenage boys she found sleeping rough after arriving from Calais are now heading to university after getting A*s in their A-levels, thanks to Eden’s work in helping them find a family.

The Women on the Move Awards also recognised former child refugee Lord Dubs as Champion of the Year for his amendment to the Immigration Act of 2016 which compelled the UK government to resettle and support unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.  He continues to fight for the implementation of the provision.  The Sue Lloyd-Roberts Media Award went to Christina Lamb, Senior Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times, for her reporting on the refugee crisis in 2016.

Find out more about the event.

Which industries can bring in migrant workers – and which cannot – will be one of the defining questions in migration policy if the UK Government ends free movement after Brexit, according to a new report from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.  The new report, Labour Immigration After Brexit: Trade-offs and Questions about Policy Design, considers the options for post-Brexit labour immigration policy and their potential ramifications.

The report notes that reducing EU migration after Brexit is a key government objective. However, deciding how and where to achieve such reductions is not a simple statistical exercise but involves a series of subjective, political decisions. Some industries and businesses will see bigger impacts than others, and deciding which ones should be allowed to bring in migrant workers could be a contentious process.

Perhaps the single biggest question about migration policy after Brexit is how much—if any—of the demand for low- and middle-skilled workers the Government will satisfy, the report argues. The Government has indicated that high-skilled EU workers are not likely to be the main target of measures to reduce migration after Brexit.

The report notes that the Government faces a choice between implementing a tailored migration system which is responsive to differing policy goals (such as supporting specific industries like agriculture or reducing the cost of social care) and a simpler set of rules that can be applied more uniformly across all industries. There are pros and cons to each approach: a tailored system enables the government to put immigration policy at the service of other government objectives like industrial strategy or supporting public services, but is also more complex and harder to implement.

Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory and author of the report, said: “There’s no single, objective metric to decide which industries should continue to receive new migrant workers after Brexit. The Government will need to juggle several different objectives, like the desire to reduce migration, support particular sectors, or to negotiate a new relationship with the European Union. Some of these objectives will inevitably conflict, so the challenge will be deciding how to prioritise them. Ultimately, a fair amount of political judgment will be needed.”


The following article is one of several pieces which are part of Policy Network’s ongoing project on immigration and integration supported by the Barrow Cadbury Fund.

In four weeks’ time, amid the pageantry of ceremonial Washington, the 45th president of the United States will be sworn into office. A man who won that office on, among many other horrors, a promise to ‘ban’ (albeit temporarily) Muslims from entering the US.

He may be rolling back on that offensive policy now the Oval Office looms in vision, but the point is telling. Fear of Islam remains real and potent across the west, even a decade and a half on from 9/11.

In Europe the ‘refugee crisis’ and a series of terror attacks over the past two years have flared tensions. Last night’s appalling incident in Berlin has already sparked a torrent of racist remarks on social media, following early reports that the driver may have been from Pakistan. It seems almost inevitable that public discourse will soon return to the sensitive topic of whether Islam is compatible with ‘western’ values.

In recent weeks Chancellor Merkel has joined the chorus of politicians floating support for a burqa ban, showing it is not just ‘populists’ focusing on the issue.

This week Policy Network’s contributors seek to go beyond simplistic rhetoric and policies, concluding it’s time to rethink the way we use terms such as ethnicity, identity, culture and race. Our contributors probe the integration debate – focusing on cases in Britain, France and Germany  – to consider the effectiveness of different responses to public concern. These range from policymaking to acts of symbolism and how politicians choose to react to fear.

These pieces are part of our ongoing project on immigration and integration supported by the Barrow Cadbury Fund and follow a successful recent seminar in London: ‘Inclusive integration: how can progressives promote social cohesion in divisive times?’, the audio of which is now available.

A new report from the Migration Observatory at the University of OxfordA Decade of Immigration in the British Press‘ says that over the past 10 years British national newspapers moved away from focussing on illegal immigration and instead focused on the scale of legal immigration, EU migration and the need for “control”.

The report also highlights the role that journalists and media organisations have played since 2006 in framing narratives about migration. Nearly half of all stories analysed in detail relied on statements or arguments made by the journalist, rather than reporting of the views of external sources such as policy-makers, NGOs, community organisations or academia.

Key findings from the report include:

  • A sharp increase in newspaper migration coverage over the course of the Conservative-led coalition government from 2010.
  • An apparent change in how immigration is discussed, with a significant decline in discussion of the legal status of migrants and an increase in the focus on the scale of migration from 2009 onwards.
  • A rise in the relative importance of discussion relating to ‘limiting’ or ‘controlling’ migration since 2010.
  • A sharp increase in the frequency of discussion of migrants from the EU/Europe after 2013, with a particular spike in 2014 when migrants from Romania and Bulgaria achieved full access to the UK labour market.
  • A tendency for journalists themselves to play the role of framing problems in the migration debate, rather than simply reporting on others’ (such as politicians’ or think-tanks’) analysis.
  • A tendency to hold politicians responsible for problems relating to EU migration, while migrants themselves are more likely to be held responsible for problems relating to illegal migration.

Newspapers included in the analysis were: Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror; Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday; The People; The Sun; Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday; The Express and Sunday Express;  The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph; the Financial Times; The Guardian  and The Observer; The Independent and the Independent on Sunday; The Times and Sunday Times.

The News of the World and The I newspaper were not included in the analysis because they were not published continuously throughout the study period, leading to problems with data collection.

About the Migration Observatory

Based at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, the Migration Observatory provides independent, authoritative, evidence-based analysis of data on migration and migrants in the UK, to inform media, public and policy debates, and to generate high quality research on international migration and public policy issues. The Observatory’s analysis involves experts from a wide range of disciplines and departments at the University of Oxford.


Migrants and refugees cross borders to live among us for many reasons. Some come fleeing human rights abuses. Some come to join other members of their families. Some come to take up work or study. But when they arrive here they often find that they face new challenges and problems. Some not only rise to these challenges for themselves, they also help others to succeed. The Women on the Move Awards celebrate and promote the contribution that migrant and refugee women, the media and their champions can make towards facing down prejudice and inspiring others.

This year there are four categories of awards. The Woman of the Year and Young Woman of the Year awards celebrate women who, having migrated or fled persecution, provide essential support and inspiring leadership at a grassroots level to others starting a new life in the UK.

The Sue lloyd-Roberts Media Award recognises the outstanding work of a journalist or producer whose reporting has promoted the protection needs of migrant and refugee women. The Champion Award will also be presented to those who work to protect or promote the rights and/or integration needs of UK-based migrant and refugee women.

Find out about previous year’s winners 2012 ,2013 ,20142015  2016.

If you know a woman who deserves to be recognised, nominate her  below.

For more information please contact [email protected].


The New Beginnings Fund was set up by a group of funders, including Barrow Cadbury Trust, to provide support to organisations involved with welcoming and integrating refugees into the UK.   Phase 1 of the Fund completed earlier this year.  Find out about some of the initiatives funded under Phase 1.  The applications for phase 2 of the New Beginnings Fund are now open.  The deadline for submitting an expression of interest form is 30 October 2016.  Please note, that web page will direct you to the relevant Community Foundation website.

For this phase grants will only be awarded in Yorkshire, the East Midlands, the North East, the South West, the South East, the East of England and Cumbria, Staffordshire, Manchester and Cheshire.

The New Beginnings Fund was set up to support small groups. Applicants must meet certain conditions before being awarded a grant. Find out more about the eligibility criteria.  Read the Documents and Policies checklist before you submit an expression of interest.

Questions in the expression of interest form and application form


 Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive of Migrants Organise, blogs about how the Women on the Move Awards give migrant and refugee women a voice


The Women on the Move Awards, a joint venture between Migrants Organise and UNHCR UK, were presented by broadcaster Samira Ahmed at the Royal Festival Hall during the Women of the World Festival to mark International Women’s Day 2016. More than 500 people came to celebrate and recognise migrant and refugee women who often do incredibly important, and yet largely invisible, work in their communities.


Our winners, Mariam Yusuf and Seada Fekadu, made the 2016 Awards a true celebration of resilience and dignity. Seada came to the UK from Eritrea as a minor, on her own, on the back of a truck via Calais. She is about to pass her exams with distinction and is off to university to become a doctor. Seada is mentoring young refugees at Young Roots and speaking up for their rights. Livia Firth presented the Young Woman award to Seada, a living example of what can be achieved when we give young refugees a helping hand, and when our protection system and public services work well.


Journalist Lindsey Hilsum presented the main Award to Mariam, who escaped Somalia and despite struggling with our adversarial system since 2008, has given her time and energy to other women in need at Women Asylum Seekers Together and many other organisations in Manchester.


What makes the achievements and contributions of these incredible women even more remarkable is the fact that neither of them spoke any English when they first arrived, and they are both now role models and leaders, turning their traumatic experiences into kindness and respect toward others. Mariam, who is still destitute and is still stuck in immigration limbo, said after the Awards Ceremony: “I was most honored and felt that I really mattered in society.”


This year we named the media award the Sue Lloyd-Roberts Media Award after a pioneering journalist, herself one of our award winners in 2014, whose legacy of professionalism and whose passion for fair and true reporting will continue to inspire courageous, thoughtful journalism. This year’s winners are Jackie Long and Lee Sorrell for their Channel 4 news piece Inside Yarl’s Wood, which provided undercover evidence of the UK’s dehumanising detention system and helped shift public debate towards more safeguards in detention, including time limits and alternatives to the detention of women.


The Awards also recognise a champion of refugees and migrants in mainstream society. This year, the winner of the Champion Award was Citizens UK, whose grass roots community organising went above and beyond any other civil society organisation, as they responded to the refugee crisis by organising a powerful Refugees Welcome movement around the country, introducing private sponsorship visas as a way for citizens to help provide protection and save lives, and for winning a groundbreaking legal victory to open up safe and legal routes for family reunion rights for refugee children in Calais.


The Women on the Move Awards are growing and opening up spaces for refugee and migrant women to tell their stories of survival contributing to the Southbank Centre’s WOW Festival’s wider audiences and on a bigger stage at the Festival Hall. For that we are very grateful to Jude Kelly, Southbank’s Artistic Director and the founder of the WOW Festival, whose support has been crucial in the growth and development of the Awards. Jude and WOW helped turn our good idea into reality. We are also grateful to the Barrow Cadbury Trust for recognising the importance of changing the narrative by telling the stories of survival and contribution that refugee and migrant women make, and letting them speak for themselves, for justice and dignity, inspiring us all in the process.


A new briefing and analysis from think tank IPPR on free movement shows that the large majority of European migrants are in work, but are more likely than the general workforce to claim in-work benefits.

Based on IPPR’s research the briefing finds that:

  • Since the 2004 accession, EU migration flows have risen dramatically risen to over 100,000 a year
  • There are now more than 3 million EU-born migrants in the UK
  • EU Migrants are more likely to be in employment than other people working across the UK


  • Eastern European migrants mainly work in low skilled temporary roles, such as food processing and machinery operation
  • EU Migrants are more likely to claim tax credits and child benefit than UK nationals, but less likely to receive out-of-work benefits
  • EU Migrants are four times more likely to be living in overcrowded accommodation than others
  • EU Migrants on average are more qualified, with 59% of migrants having university or college qualifications, compared to 34% of British residents
  • British residents who were interviewed as part of the research raised major concerns about EU migrants’ access to welfare, pressures on public services, crime and personal security and wage undercutting


You can read the full report here



A new report from British Future, in partnership with London Citizens is calling on London’s mayoral candidates to back a new proposal for an Office for Citizenship and Integration at the Greater London Authority, to be led by a new Deputy Mayor with responsibility for promoting citizenship and encouraging better integration across London.


The report highlights key priorities that the new office could pursue, including:



  • Encouraging more migrants living in London to take British Citizenship
  • Ensuring people can speak English, so they can fully integrate with British Life
  • Promoting greater involvement in civic life and contact between people from different backgrounds
  • Encouraging all young Londoners to register and use their first vote


You can read the full report here