We Belong launches 'Out of the Loop' campaign to help young migrants get on with their lives

Today sees the launch of We Belong's Out of the Loop campaign, calling on Immigration...

Today sees the launch of We Belong's Out of the Loop campaign, calling on Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick to take urgent action to ensure all eligible young migrants are able to secure their permanent status in the UK.

We Belong - the only nationwide campaign set up by and for young migrants who have grown up in the UK - fears young people from low income backgrounds are being denied the chance to secure permanent status, despite being eligible for settlement under new Immigration Rules introduced in 2022. Instead, they will be stuck in an endless loop of repeated Home Office applications, possibly indefinitely, because they cannot afford the £2,400+ cost of applying for indefinite leave to remain.

The first day of the Out of the Loop campaign will see a group of young migrants hand-deliver a letter to the Home Office, which has been signed by more than 40 We Belong Members, asking Robert Jenrick to meet representatives from the group to hear their concerns.

We Belong CEO Chrisann Jarrett says:

'All political parties agree that it benefits everyone if young migrants who've made their home in the UK have the chance to thrive and fully contribute to our society. That was the reason the government changed the Immigration Rules in 2022[i], to create a shorter, more affordable path to permanent status, so young people like us can get on with our lives, rather than living with the constant anxiety of having to make repeated limited leave to remain renewals.'

We Belong is calling for the existing fee waiver scheme, which protects people who do not have the financial means to pay Home Office fees, to be extended to cover indefinite leave to remain applications. At the moment, fee waivers are only available for limited leave applications.

Chrisann says:

'The 2022 change to the Immigration Rules has already transformed the lives of many of our members in exactly the way the government hoped it would. However, as things stand anyone who is reliant on a fee waiver will not be able to benefit from the new rules. Rather than having the security of settlement, their only option is to remain on the  limited leave leave loop,  and continue making fee waiver and renewal applications every 30 months, possibly indefinitely. We know of young people in this situation who are students or single parents, or are victims of modern slavery or have serious health conditions.'

One of the signatories to the letter to Robert Jenrick is Bhavik, 25, who arrived in the UK age 6. Bhavik is on a Finance Graduate Scheme, where he works and studies towards his accountancy qualifications. His family faces financial hardship and without a fee waiver, he will be unable to apply for settlement.

Bhavik says:

'If I had indefinite leave, it would give me so much peace of mind and mean I can fully focus on my career and my future. It would give me the ability to assist my family in getting a mortgage, as there are currently four of us renting a two-bedroom terrace house.'

We Belong believes that extending fee waivers to settlement applications would not just help young people like Bhavik, but also bring wider benefits. It would also reduce the bureaucratic burden on the Home Office, which would no longer have to process repeated fee waiver and renewal applications from people who are eligible for settlement but cannot afford to apply for it.

For further information, see We Belong’s Core Group Letter to the Immigration Minister

 

[i] In 2022, in response to campaigning by We Belong, the Home Office changed the Immigration Rules to give young migrants with strong ties to the UK the right to settlement (also called indefinite leave to remain) after clocking up five years of limited leave to remain, rather than after 10 years, as it was previously. See our Campaign Evaluation for more information.

19 Apr 2023