Immigration Advice Workshop

29 Oct

“British towns Swamped by EU migrants” says the front page of the Metro (quoting Tory Minister, Michael Fallon) on the day EFA students in Battersea attended a workshop on migrant rights. Eleven students, two teachers, a volunteer participated in an interactive workshop lead by New Citizens Legal Service Co-ordinator,  Bekele Woyecha. After the students shared their stories and created a migration river, Bekele told us his story.

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Bekele escaped political persecution in Ethiopia, leaving behind his wife and one year old son. He has been in the UK for eight years and only four months ago managed to be reunited with his family who have finally joined him in Britain. The students learned about the asylum process, family resettlement, recent changes to spousal visas. There was a wealth of new language that emerged and was constantly recycled, including asylum, refugee, asylum seeker, sanctuary, lawyer, solicitor, barrister, advice, advisor, affordable, pull factor, persecution, election and campaign. Bekele told us about the work of the New Citizens Legal Service which is to educate people on their rights, train people in the community to offer good initial advice, refer people for good quality, affordable legal advice and take action against dodgy lawyers. He urged us to join the campaign to demand 1 – reduction of the income threshold for spouses wishing to bring their partner to the UK 2 – Increase in the number of refugee applications accepted each year and 3 – End to indefinite detention. EFA students felt it had been a really interesting session but they still have loads of questions to ask.

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