A huge thank you for all your support this year – an extraordinary, challenging year that has shaken up all our lives. We have accomplished a huge amount, against the odds. Here is a selection of what we’ve done together this year.

January

Brexit day, on 31 January, was marked with 186,000 people calling for the government to keep its promises to EU nationals and their EEA family members. We worked with chef Damian Wawrzyniak to create a petition calling for the government to grant automatic Settled Status to families, shining a spotlight on the risks faced by those who get left behind by the scheme.

February

Thousands of people took action to stop the deportation of the Jamaica 50. 
The Home Office attempted to deport people who’d had no access to legal advice, and before the publication of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, which promised to examine the policies that had seen members of the Windrush generation detained and deported. The review, finally released in March, was damning. We worked with survivors of the scandal and with MPs from across the house to demand a robust government response.

March


At the onset of the pandemic, we coordinated over 100 groups urging immediate government action to protect at-risk migrants from sickness and poverty. Since 16 March, nearly 2,000 people have added their names, saying, we all deserve to be equally protected in this crisis. Thank you if you’re one of them.

April

We worked with Rebecca to share the story of her family's separation due to cruel spouse visa rules, on John Harris' Anywhere But Westminster series. The Minimum Income Requirement ruins lives, splitting families across continents simply because of what one partner earns.

Also in April, the Court of Appeal found that the Right to Rent scheme, a key plank of the hostile environment, causes racial discrimination. The judges confirm that as a result of this scheme, it is harder for black people, ethnic minorities and migrants to rent a home than it is for white British people.
 
But the Court stopped short of finding Right to Rent violated human rights law. They leave it to MPs and the Government to decide whether the racial discrimination is ‘greater than envisaged’. Any amount of racial discrimination is unacceptable. That’s why our next step is to appeal this decision in the Supreme Court. Hundreds of you have donated to help make this case possible, so a huge thank you.

May

We worked with unions to force high profile concessions from the government, including the reversal of its position on the rights of bereaved migrant families and the extortionate visa fees charged to migrant health workers.

June

We echoed the calls from across the globe that Black Lives Matter and we worked with Freedom from Torture, Black Lives Matter UK Hope Not Hate and Led by Donkeys to project those words on the Palace of Westminster. We know there's more we can do as an anti-racist organisation, and are taking steps to return to our roots as an organisation owned by and accountable to the communities we serve.

July

We won Legal Aid Team of the year. Across the year, we provided urgent and specialist legal advice to nearly 2,000 individuals and families, helping them to defend their right to stay in the UK, free from fear and uncertainty. And, thanks to support and donations from people like you, we were able to provide our clients with life-saving support, including emergency accommodation, medicines, and food for the first time in our 53 years.

August

Working with Foxglove, we forced the government to abandon its racist system of algorithmic visa decision making, the first win of its kind anywhere in the world.
 
Over 3,000 people called on their MP to push for safe, legal routes into the UK, as media and political attention turned to people making desperate journeys across the Channel in small boats. The way the Home Office is treating asylum seekers puts them at huge risk – from closing off safe routes like resettlement, to housing people in disused barracks, to the hand-to-mouth subsistence people are granted (£35 per week) while banned from working. Our work to defend the rights of people seeking asylum will continue in the new year, with our legal challenge against the criminalisation of people steering boats, to work on the upcoming asylum bill.

September

You donated to help us take the Home Office to court over the design of the EU Settled Status scheme, which has created a huge risk for vulnerable people of losing their rights and status. By the time we launched action in December, you’d supported us to cover £18,641 of costs – a huge thank you.

October

You helped get MPs to attend a debate on the No Recourse to Public Funds rule and speak out for migrants who’ve been cut out of the social safety net. We worked with Stephen Timms, MP, to secure a Westminster Hall Debate on 8 October.

November

We won a hugely important victory at the European Court of Human Rights. Three British children lost their dad to a system of double punishment, deportation. Judges said our client’s deportation to Nigeria was disproportionate and not "necessary in a democratic society”.

A second big win happened within a week, when the High Court ruled that arrangements for dealing with Upper Tribunal immigration appeals during the Covid-19 pandemic were unlawful. We had challenged guidance which left hundreds of people without any right to speak at their own appeal hearing. Hundreds may now have the chance to have their cases reviewed.

December

We launched our new campaign, calling for equal rights for migrant workers. “Work It Out” launched on 11 December with an incredible panel discussion, chaired by Nadia Whittome MP, who is leading a migrant workers' rights campaign within Parliament. Ask your MP to get involved or watch the event back now. 

You helped us send Christmas presents to every family we work with, to show they’re loved and welcome here this Christmas. One father told us this was the first Christmas treat he'd received in 6 years! A huge thank you if you’re one of the 300 people who donated or sent a message!

In the final days of the year, we rapidly created a new Windrush Winter Emergency Appeal, to help plug the gaps in people’s finances, due to the complex, slow Windrush Compensation Scheme. Find out more and donate.

Join us in 2021


How was your 2020? We are interested to learn about the experiences of migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic, to understand how the government has made it more difficult for people who are subject to immigration control to keep themselves and their families safe. Please take a moment to complete our new survey.

Would you like to join us in 2021? We are hiring a new Operations Director! Find out more and apply by 10pm on 10 January.


The challenges we face will continue to grow in 2021. But even as we face continued assaults on the rule of law, on the rights and dignity of minorities and migrants, we will continue to articulate, boldly and confidently, the case for progressive immigration reform. Change may be slow, but hope dies last.

We have been an incredible team this year - the amazing families we work with, the staff, trustees, funders, partners and members and supporters like you. Your support in a difficult year has been remarkable - a huge, huge thank you.

The JCWI team are now on break until Monday 4 January. Sending our best wishes for a restful Christmas time and Happy New Year,

Satbir Singh & all the JCWI team