Over the past three years, Will Whitaker, Solicitor in our Public Law team, has been part of the advisory panel assisting Migrants Organise with a project aimed at helping people in the immigration system who have mental health issues. The impact report examining the project’s findings has now been published.
Migrants Organise is an organisation that campaigns for, and supports, refugees and migrants in various areas of public life. As part of this, the organisation works with people going through the immigration system and in doing so, noticed a hole in the system when it came to people who lack capacity to deal with immigration issues. More specifically, that people who have associated mental health and other support needs that are not being met, are having significant difficulties with progressing their immigration cases.
Migrants Organise convened a panel of experts that work in the immigration, community care, mental health and mental capacity fields. They started providing support to people who were struggling to manage their immigration cases because of mental health and/or mental capacity problems. They also enlisted the help of volunteers to act as litigation friends for those people to help them through the process.
The impact report on these issues, solutions, and general information taken from the project so far has now been published. It highlights some great individual successes for the project with a number of migrants and refugees having had their immigration applications conclude positively. The project and Migrants Organise’s campaigning has also shone a light on the issue of mental capacity in the immigration system, and there is growing discussion that the government and/or courts need to implement a solution to these problems, rather than leaving it down to organisations like Migrants Organise.
There is much more to do, with many people continuing to suffer through a system that is not designed to help them. Migrants Organise’s direct work supporting these people will continue, alongside the pressure being put on the Ministry of Justice and others to make changes to address this problem.
Will Whitaker, Public Law solicitor, comments:
The report highlights the great successes in providing support and assistance by Migrants Organise and the panel, for migrants and refugees that were struggling to navigate the system because of their mental health or disability. It also shines a light on the problems with the current immigration system for those people, and highlights that much more work needs to be done to make sure the system accommodates the people that need to use it. Migrants Organise’s continued work in the field is incredibly important and must instigate change for the future.
For more information on this topic, please contact Will Whitaker.