Report from SLF roundtable
The Strategic Legal Fund recently hosted a roundtable event which took place at No5 Chambers in London. The event aimed to encourage creative participation and cross-sector collaboration with organisations that work with young migrants.
Last year, we identified three particular issues; the hostile environment policies; the growing number of NRPF conditions affecting families; and the issue of high application fees for young people who are going through routes to settlement.
We were keen to get an update on potential emerging legal issues affecting young migrants under the age of 25 in the UK today. Below we list ten issues that were discussed during the event and that will shape SLF's funding priorities for the forthcoming year.
Not surprisingly, the issues currently identified as funding priorities continue to be major issues that affect young migrants under 25. When asked our guests raised below issues (in order of most frequently mentioned)
1. NRPF conditions
2. Age assessments
3. Fees and their impact on young people
4. Data sharing with the Home Office
5. Access to health care
6. Local authority gatekeeping
7. Access to legal aid/advice
8. EU settlement
9. Regularising status and breaking down procedural barriers
10. Equal treatment in childcare and education
Guests discussed particular issues and potential challenges in focus groups, some points raised included:
- No access to free school meals for families with a NRPF condition
- Data sharing between the NHS and the Home Office when submitting immigration applications, which leads to invoices issued for historical medical treatment debt.
- Online forms and the barrier to accessing justice this brings, issue with not being able to input expired passport data
- Child refugees not allowed to sponsor parents for family reunion.
- Young offenders who will be required to register for Settled Status but without access to legal aid.
- The need for a sliding scale on age and length of residence threshold (7 years, 20 years) - best interest and proportionality
The event provided an opportunity for our attendees to get together with people working in the sector and hear different perspectives. Guests also found it useful to identify cross-cutting issues and seeing possibilities of working with other areas of the sector. The discussions at the event also highlighted the gap between different stakeholders and the usefulness of collaborating to achieve change.
Most attendees felt that they had developed new relationships with other organisations by attending the event and almost half of them felt inspired to put in an application to the SLF.
We were interested in finding out whether there was an appetite for the scope of SLF funding to be widened but the majority of our attendees felt the funding criteria should stay the same.
Many attendees flagged that they would like to find out more about the practicalities around finding claimants and developing legal arguments. Based on this feedback, ILPA is now planning a training session on strategic litigation in practice. Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.