‘Permanently temporary’ – migrants’ poverty & exploitation (25 Feb)

Taking Soundings event on Wednesday 25th February 2015 at 6pm:

‘Being permanently temporary’: poverty and exploitation of migrants in the UK – Dr Hannah Lewis

The current coalition UK Government has signalled its clear intentions to decouple migration from settlement. Through a variety of increasingly complicated measures, immigration policy creates a hierarchy of rights to work, welfare and residency that sub-divide and segregate different groups of migrants. The restriction of basic rights and separation of movement in the labour market from social citizenship is creating routine poverty for large groups of migrants and opens up the possibilities for, and risks of exploitation of migrants, including severe exploitation in forced labour.

Are migrants now expected to contribute their skills and expertise in the UK labour market while being pushed into living in a condition of being ‘permanently temporary’, not knowing if and when they will be required to move or leave the UK? This talk will consider how a range of measures introduced to limit rights to family reunion, restrict spouse visas, and to reduce leave to remain are driving temporariness into all migrant categories, including those such as family migrants, refugees, EU migrants and even new citizens not technically part of ‘temporary migration’ programmes.

Hannah Lewis is a Research Fellow at the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. She has recently published ‘Precarious lives Forced labour, exploitation and asylum’ with Policy Press, the first dedicated study to evidence forced labour experiences among people seeking asylum in the UK. Her research interests include community and social relationships, migration and refugee studies; immigration and asylum policy particularly in relation to destitution among refused asylum seekers in the UK; housing, volunteering, multiculturalism.

Hannah has been involved as a volunteer, practitioner, campaigner and researcher with a number of initiatives, movements and migrant and refugee organisations in the region such as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Asylum Destitution Inquiry, the Leeds Better Asylum Housing Campaign, No to G4S, the Western Sahara Campaign, and the Leeds Solidarity Network. She is currently a trustee of Leeds Refugee Forum – the forum of refugee community organisations in Leeds.

Venue: Broadcasting Place, Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane (opposite the Fenton pub), Leeds LS2 9EN.

6pm Wednesday 25th February 2015