Citizens UK has been organising communities to ensure that the UK becomes a more welcoming country to migrants and refugees. Our members believe that everyone living and working in the UK should be treated fairly and that as a country we should be playing our part in resettling vulnerable refugees.
We have secured much needed change in this area before: in 2009 thousands of migrants without papers who had good community references were regularised by the Government and allowed to settle in the UK after we held our Strangers into Citizens rally in Trafalgar Square, London.
Our priority campaigns today are on child citizenship and the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
Children into Citizens campaign
Hundreds of families in our member institutions – and many more in wider society - struggle to secure British citizenship for their children, even though these children were born or have been raised here and often know no other country than Britain.
Costing £1012 per child, these fees force countless families into risky debts, which causes families, like Bernice and her two children, a great deal of stress. For those families who are unable to cover the costs this means that their children are blocked from fulfilling their potential and accessing university as they would have to pay the higher cost of international fees for non-UK or EU students.
Moreover, our research shows that the UK charges 10 times more than many EU countries, such as Belgium, Spain and France. You can read our full report here.
That’s why Citizens UK is calling for shorter and more affordable routes to British Citizenship for children. The fees should be reduced to £372 - which is the cost to the Home Office to process each application – and for the fee to be waived altogether for those who can’t afford it.
Listen to James Asfa, our Organiser leading on migrant and refugee campaigns, talk about the issue in the video below.
You can also share this graphic on social media to draw attention to the issue. Just click here to it share on Facebook.
Due to cuts to ESOL services it has become harder for migrants to learn English, find employment and participate in public life. Therefore, Citizens UK members and chapters are currently calling on the UK Government to provide adequate funding for ESOL and for all Local Authorities to appoint an Officer dedicated to the coordination and promotion ESOL services.
If you or your institution would like to be involved in this campaign, please email James.Asfa@citizensuk.org