West Midlands Immigration Network - Impact Report

Introduction to the 2022/2023 Impact Report

The West Midlands Immigration Network was created in October 2022 by four non-profit organisations operating in the region with funding received under the Justice Together Initiative.

The Refugee and Migrant Centre (RMC), Brushstrokes, Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent (CASNS) and Hope Projects formed a partnership with the vision of strengthening immigration services in the West Midlands and working towards enabling marginalised migrants to better access free, regulated, legal advice to understand their options and ultimately settle in the UK.

At the heart of this partnership is a dedication to collaboration and support amongst immigration practitioners. In the first year of this partnership, the focus has been to develop and upskill immigration advisors, to improve recruitment and retention of qualified immigration advisors and invest in their well-being. The creation of the West Midlands Immigration Advisors Network, a network open to a range of nonprofit organisations in the West Midlands, has been an important product of this partnership.

Another priority for the Network is forging key partnerships. In the past year, the Network expanded the work with smaller voluntary and community organisations, particularly groups with lived experience with an aim to improve their understanding of the need for and how to access referral pathways into specialist immigration advice provision. Partners also expanded the geographic areas of their work and strengthened the sharing of expertise, mutual support and referral pathways.

This report aims to present some of the achievements of the Network in its first year of operation and highlight the importance of working in partnership to increase capacity, improve quality and build teams resilient and equipped to work in the challenging field of free immigration advice provision.

Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent (CASNS) Contribution

In the past year, CASNS established their North Staffordshire Immigration Network, a local network that enables small groups working with vulnerable migrants to make referrals to their immigration team. CASNS is working with these groups to enable them to understand the immigration system better and allow them to make effective referrals.

A referral pathway with two local community groups supporting victims of trafficking and migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds (NPRF) has been being piloted and these organisations are currently receiving training by CASNS on how to refer cases. CASNS is working on extending the Network to include more organisations and groups in the following year.

CASNS Immigration team

It is hard to underestimate the difference that the JTI grant, and partnership has made to my team, our clients, and to CASNS as an organisation. Whereas our Trustee Board had begun to discuss closing down Immigration casework, that is no longer being considered so CASNS can continue to provide Immigration casework to the people of North Staffordshire’

Jude Hawes, Head of Specialist & Equalities Service, CASNS

RMC report coverDownload the full report as a PDF

This entry was posted on December 12, 2023

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