13 Sep 2022
We Belong launches two short films showing how young migrants can secure their immigration status and get on with their lives.
We Belong - the only UK-wide campaigning organisation set up and run by young migrants - is today launching two short animated films aimed at equipping young people to identify problems with their immigration status as early as possible, so they can get help to resolve them.
The films feature 18-year-old Lizzie, who came to the UK as a young child, plus her younger brother Lanre and cousin Mary, who are both age 10.
The films will be made widely available on social media, shared with community groups, and used as part of We Belong schools and community group training programmes.
The animations are intended to support to We Belong's frontline work with young migrants, and have three main audiences:
- young people who may not realise their immigration status is unresolved;
- children and over 18s who are eligible to apply for limited leave to remain, due to their strong ties to the UK;
- those who have been granted limited leave to remain due to their strong ties, and could benefit from the 2022 Home Office rule change, which means they can apply for permanent settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after five years - rather than 10, as it was previously.
In the first film, which is just 80-seconds long, Lizzie, gradually realises that she can't do all the things her British-born best friend Tom can do, as she doesn't have the right 'passport paperwork'. Lizzie is shown missing out on a school trip to Paris, a weekend job, and a student loan - which means she is left behind when her friends go to university.
In the second film, lasting 130 seconds, Lizzie explains how We Belong helped her and her younger family members to secure their immigration status, so they can all now get on with their lives. The film explains the limited leave to remain eligibiity criteria for children and over 18s; plus sets out the 2022 rule change, which halved the time those with limited leave to remain must wait before being eligible for permanent settlement in the UK.
Chrisann Jarrett, We Belong CEO, says:
'Lizzie is a created character, but her story is all too real. Her experiences will be familiar to many, many, young migrants growing up in the UK, who have no reason to think they are different from anyone else, until they find they are unable to do all of the things their friends can do. They're not able to travel abroad, or get a part-time job, or access student finance - and they don't fully understand what the problem is. The young people who contact us are often feeling confused and isolated, but our film has a positive message. The sooner you identify issues with your immigration status, the sooner you can fix them - and organisations like We Belong are here to help you get on with your life.'
The 2022 Home Office rule change followed campaigning by We Belong for a shorter, fairer, path to settlement for young migrants who have grown up in the UK (We Belong Campaign Evaluation, April 2022 https://www.webelong.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/We%20Belong%20Campaign%20Report.pdf)
B, a young migrant who has lived in the UK for 20 years, and who was one of the first young people to benefit from the Home Office rule change, says:
'Being granted indefinite leave to remain gives me a feeling of emancipation. I can now pursue my goals and dreams without the fear of my immigration status being a hindrance. Finally, my status reflects the roots I have in Britain.'
'We Belong's campaign win was a major success for anyone who cares about creating a fair and inclusive society, but we now need to put as much effort into spreading the word about the change as we did into securing it in the first place. We want to ensure that every one of the 330,000-plus children and young people who could benefit from a shorter path to settlement, are able to do so. It is a mammoth task, and we hope our new animations, with their simple but powerful messages, will help us reach the widest possible audience.'
The animations are available here:
Film one (raising awareness):
Film two (criteria for leave to remain):
For information about the support We Belong can offer to young migrants, contact: email@example.com
For information about the animations, contact We Belong comms consultant Fiona Bawdon: firstname.lastname@example.org
The animations were made by Catch Creative ( https://www.catchcreative.co.uk ), working with We Belong's comms consultant Fiona Bawdon. Thanks to We Belong's policy and public affairs officer Mariam Bafo for her help; and We Belong's community engagement officer in Manchester Tania Stein for the voiceover. Funding was from Trust for London's Pathways to Settlement scheme.