At the Migrant Voice conference in June 2014, there was a call for migrants to vote. This means that we have to speak up as well as act upon it. Voting day is few weeks away, so what are we going to do to give ourselves a better profile?
General Election days are the best time to make our voices heard. It has been suggested that those who can vote but choose not to will contribute to the creation of negative policies by the elected government. Surveys have found that the perception that migrant citizens do not and will not vote only mean that we do not stand to gain any favourable outcomes in any government's policies.
There has been many a time when you hear a candidate saying on television that when he or she stood on the doorsteps of Britain's public, the people's main concerns are about migration – and they are all negative. From too many migrants to exhausting public services to taking jobs to driving wages down, these negative perceptions of migrants only add to the stigmatisation and further discrimination of migrants.
This General Election Day, 7 May 2015, we suggest putting forward certain questions to candidates seeking election when they come to our doors, no matter who we intend to vote for.
Some questions we can start with:
1: What is your party's policy on immigration? At this stage you may get the usual inaccurate claims about immigration and you should correct any inaccuracies with your experience and views. After all, they are there to listen to you. Tell them that you are looking for positive outcomes for migrants like yourself.
2: Why should I vote for your party if you are negative about people like me? Making it personal puts them on the spot to justify their position.
3: How does your party intend to deal with the negative perceptions of migrants in the media? Tell them that negative perceptions only feed into stigmatisation and discrimination of migrants.
Please add to the above list and pin it at your front door so that you are always ready to talk to any political party candidates seeking YOUR VOTE!!
Sofi Taylor is a founding member and Chair to the Overseas Nurses and Care Workers Network. She was also the Founder and co-ordinator for the Unison Overseas Nurses Network. At present, she is also a trustee for Migrants Rights Network.