Speaking for Ourselves

Our year in review

Our year in review


 Migrant Voice - Our year in review

2023 has been a year of challenges for the migrants’ rights sector, but it has also been one of incredible joy, comradeship, support, and unity. It has been a year where we have seen people come together to show that we all matter. It has been a year where, no matter the obstacles, we have seen people fight on. It has been a year we can celebrate.

We have had an incredible year at Migrant Voice. As a national charity, we have seen people come together from across the country to join in with our activities and campaigns.

Our offices in London, Birmingham and Glasgow have held a myriad of different activities for migrants to have their voices heard and call for their rights, and to know that they are not alone.

We are proud to have built more connections between communities  through some of our  exciting and innovative projects across the country.

Our photography exhibition “Putting Ourselves in the Picture”, which is still running, at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow is a perfect example. After an enormous amount of work from our team in Glasgow, with support from other regions, the exhibition has been a huge success. Bringing together not just the images of migrants, but their stories, as we show how migration has helped shape the Glasgow, and Scotland, we see today.

In Birmingham, our ‘media labs’ saw members trained on how to pitch to the press and handle media interviews, to better ensure that migrants’ voices and  stories are heard. It is a crucial part of our work that supports more migrants to tell their stories, in their own way to the media. All too often discussions surrounding immigration fail to include the experiences of those most affected, the migrants themselves. We are continuing to work to change that, and have more exciting plans for this lined up for 2024.

The year got off to a busy start in London, with the organising of our Visa Fees Conference in February. This brought together migrants, organisations, and others, to discuss the best ways going forward for a fairer immigration system and for us to campaign for a reduction in the extortionate cost of visa fees, and a capping of how long it takes to get permanent residency to five years. The conference was a huge success, with ideas flowing fast and freely throughout.

On a national level, on 31 October we brought together hundreds of people on the street, and  thousands on social media, across the country, in person and online, for our “Day of Action Against Visa Fees”. This saw a phenomenal array of activities taking place, from rallies outside the Home Office in London, gatherings in Birmingham, Manchester and around the country, to a Halloween themed ceilidh in Glasgow. Social media was buzzing throughout the day, with #ActionOnVisas being used across every channel. It was truly wonderful to see the support which is out there for migrants, including from non-migrants, and we are excited to build on this with our plans in the coming year.

Of course, there have been setbacks and challenges this year. We have seen an increase in visa fees and income requirements placed upon migrants. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that this government’s Rwanda policy was unlawful it has brought forward a new bill aimed at stripping human rights from those seeking safety. We have seen a ramping up of hostile rhetoric, and a growing toxicity in attitudes towards migration from politicians and pundits.

We have also seen that the public are not buying it though. We have watched people come out in the rain to stand with migrants. We have seen communities pull together. We have been there as people have shown that they believe in migrants’ rights. That’s what this year has shown. For all the negativity, the positivity is more prevalent. It might be harder to see at times because it is publicised, but we are working on that, and will continue to do so in 2024.

From our campaigns against extortionate visa fees, raising awareness of the inhumane conditions those seeking asylum are placed in, the continuing denial of justice for international students who were unjustly stripped of their right to study, to the collaborative campaigning we do with others on topics such as, fighting against income requirements for migrants to be allowed to be with their loved ones and the exploitation of migrant workers, everything builds up. Even when things look like they are a challenge, it is always just a stepping stone to the next stage to fight for the rights of all.

Our projects, our activities, our team, our supporters, have all made a difference, and will continue to make one as we go into the new year. From posters to photography, from magazines to mass rallies, from crafts to communities, it all makes a difference. Whether regionally or nationally, the importance of what we do, what you support, what we achieve, has never been more essential. So, from all of us at Migrant Voice, please accept our heartfelt thanks.

This year has seen us make huge strides and develop amazing connections. Next year will see us build on those even further, and together we will make an even bigger difference.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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