Speaking for Ourselves

Standing up to the Hostile Environment

Standing up to the Hostile Environment


 Migrant Voice - Standing up to the Hostile Environment

Injustice can take many forms; so can resistance.

Over a decade, the Hostile Environment has infiltrated almost all aspects of our society: this means there are plenty of things we can do to help to dismantle it. Each one of us can play a role in our fight to end the Hostile Environment.

These are some (more) things you can do to resist the Hostile Environment:

+ Read, learn and gain knowledge

+ Speak out and spread the message

+ Amplify other people's voices

+ Write a letter to your MP, councillors, local newspaper

+ Attend events

+ Organise with your community

+ Support or become active with groups working to end the Hostile Environment


+ Read, learn and gain knowledge

You can find a lot of information online about the Hostile Environment, its history and its impact on the whole country.

Get started here or here to read about it.

If you’d rather watch a video, there are plenty on YouTube. Try this explainer by Novara Media, or this short documentary by The Guardian.

If you’d like to read a book to gain a more thorough view about the issue, try “Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats” by Maya Goodfellow or "The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment" by Amelia Gentleman.

Think about how the Hostile Environment’s impact on people: your neighbours, co-workers, friends, and family.


+ Speak out and spread the message

As long as it is safe for you to do so, it is important that we all speak out against the Hostile Environment.

Not everyone may know what the Hostile Environment is or how it works. If you can, take some time to talk with the people around you to explain why it is wrong and why it must end. Try to start a conversation about the Hostile Environment with your friends, family, faith group, union, workplace….

If you can, challenge reactionary comments online or in face-to-face conversations.

Do not stay quiet in the face of injustice. Speak out and spread the message.


+ Amplify other people's voices

Too many people feel they can’t speak out about how the hostile environment affects them. You can support them to speak safely and amplify their voice far and wide.

Re-share the work of people with first-hand experience, policymakers, activists, experts, and so on. This can be their articles, books, videos, social media posts…

Recommend their work to your network of friends, family and anyone with whom you talk about the Hostile Environment: their stories will be able to reach even more people.

If you hear of campaigns, petitions, fundraisers, and so on, take the steps you can to support them: join a campaign, sign a petition, and share them in your community.

For example: our Building Resilience project gave voice to some of the migrant communities most marginalised by Covid-19. It provided them with spaces to share their stories and form networks of solidarity.


+ Write a letter to your MP, councillors, local newspaper

It’s important that constituents let their MPs know how they feel about the government’s actions, regardless of the party they belong to.

Let your MP know that the government’s policies are not in your name.

You can also write to your local councillors. Let your representatives know what you think.

You can find many template letters online, such as one to support our campaign to end extortionate visa fees.

A letter to a newspaper - local or national - can reach a wide, diverse audience. Consider writing a letter where you explain why the Hostile Environment is hurtful and it must end.

Looking for ideas? you can find a template letter to the editors here and more tips here.

Your letter will have more impact if you add something of your own to it: a thought, your personal experience, etc.

Email us at campaigns@migrantvoice.org if you would like some help writing to your MP.


+ Attend events

Events of all types are a great way to meet people from your community and build solidarity. You can go to protests, talks, roundtables, festivals… In person or online.

Attending one or more events can make you feel part of a community of people who believe in the same things as you: an open, welcoming society; justice; fairness. It gives you the chance to exchange views with others and strengthen your motivation and resilience.

You can also learn a lot from talks, lectures, roundtables… about your rights and how to best stand up to Hostile Environment policies.

We’re holding a discussion next week (June 20) on how to hold the government to account about the Hostile Environment. Register here.


+ Organise with your community

A united community is essential to bring positive change. Get together with your friends, neighbours, colleagues, faith groups… and take joint actions.

Our campaigns have been successful because people got together to support them.

Our members have had their initial asylum rejections overturned because their community demanded it.

And our #MyFutureBack campaign to bring justice for TOEIC scandal victims has resulted in damning reports by the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on TOEIC, as well as further media investigations into the government’s questionable conduct.

You can also organise book clubs, discussion groups and film screenings to read and learn about the Hostile Environment together. If there are no events around you, then you can arrange one.

Your joint actions will create solidarity networks that will benefit both your community and our common work to end the Hostile Environment.


+ Support or become active with groups working to end the Hostile Environment

If you don’t have any spare time but have the funds, you can donate to charities, organisations and groups. Every amount helps!

Or you can do something equally valuable, which is to donate your time. Spend a few hours a week volunteering with local charities, support groups, food banks, etc.

If you don’t know any charity in your area, you can find organisations near you with this tool.

If you would like to support us or get involved in what we do, check out our Get Involved page.


Any step you take to stand up to the Hostile Environment is a step that moves us forward. Let’s keep working together. #EndtheHostileEnvironment

Get in touch

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

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: info@migrantvoice.org

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

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