Whether you wrote to your MP, made a donation or came to an event - thank you for your support and solidarity in 2021. In the face of a system that hurts people on a daily basis (see Lauren Tormey's monthly recaps here), we have accomplished a huge amount. Here's a selection of what we’ve done together this year.

January

We kicked off the year with Emily Kenway, speaking about her book ‘The Truth About Modern Slavery’. Emily invites us take a closer look at how the government enables the conditions that make people vulnerable to exploitation, while launching a moral crusade against the most extreme results. 


Watch the full interview with Emily here. Our Work It Out campaign calls for reforms to the immigration system to ensure we can all work safely, no matter what immigration status we have.

You donated over £70,000 towards the Windrush Winter Emergency Appeal, providing hardship funds for people still denied compensation from the Windrush compensation scheme. Here's how the funds were distributed.

At the end of January we published research that showed care workers were at risk of being criminalised and thrown into the hostile environment, due to the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. A wealth of evidence already showed that tens or hundreds of thousands of people were at risk of losing their official immigration status in the summer, with people who are already vulnerable and marginalised most at risk. Our report, ‘When the clapping stops’, showed that the consequences reached even further.

February

Throughout the pandemic, the Home Office has prioritised immigration enforcement over public health – a decision that makes us all less safe.

In February we published research that shows people are afraid to come forward for NHS care, including treatment and vaccinations, because of the risk they will be detained and deported. We are launching a further report on the devastating impact of the hostile environment during the pandemic, in January 2022 - sign up to join us at the launch here. And we are calling for the Covid inquiry to address the ways that the Hostile Environment put people in danger and hindered the fight against Covid, and will be stepping up our campaign in the coming months.

Dozens of people took part in the Valentine’s Day #HaveAHeart challenge, jointly organised with our friends at Reunite Families, sending a message to the Home Office that families belong together.

March

In March we published research showing that the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ rule put people at greater risk in the pandemic. NRPF is stamped on the visas of an estimated 1.4m migrants, cutting them off from the social safety net we all rely on in hard times. Denied any safety net, people have been forced to continue working in dangerous and exploitative conditions, or risk destitution.

We chatted to Leah Cowan about her book Border Nation, which delves into the history and impacts of the border regime, and finds hope in inspiring, migrant-led resistance to border violence. Watch the full interview here.


Priti Patel announced her ‘New Plan for Immigration’, which later became the Nationality and Borders Bill. The proposals create a two-tier refugee system, and aim to ‘deter’ refugees from coming to the UK by punishing those who survive dangerous journeys here by detaining, criminalising and deporting them. Throughout the year, thousands of you have spoken out and urged your MP to stand with refugees against this attack on the principles of refugee protection.

And, following a successful legal challenge by JCWI and others, the Home Office agreed to review its policy on fee waivers for visa applications. They accepted that it was unlawful to bar people from applying to come to the UK on human rights grounds - for example, to live in the UK with their family members - just because they couldn't pay the astronomical application fees. But 9 months after the Home Office was found to be acting unlawfully, it has still failed to implement an updated policy, leaving families stranded across borders. We'll continue to pressure the Home Office in 2022.

April

We launched a landmark report into the experiences of undocumented people in the UK. Our research illustrates how people are pushed out of status by an immigration system that treats them as 'temporary' residents for years, or even decades. Here’s our Policy and Advocacy Manager Zoe Gardner with five key facts from the report.


We co-hosted a panel discussion on the impending crisis in the social care sector, and how hostile immigration policies are pushing the care sector to the brink.

And we teamed up with eight leading law firms to create a free legal advice initiative for survivors of the Windrush scandal, in response to consistently low numbers of applications for the UK government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme. 

May

Our client Sam featured on BBC Panorama documentary, Am I British? The documentary looks at the reasons why so many people, many of whom were born in the UK and have never lived anywhere else, are being denied their rights to vote, to attend university, or to work and may even face deportation. 

And residents of Kenmure Street, Glasgow stood together against a raid targeting their neighbours. An eight-hour road block by demonstrators resulted in the two men, Sumit Sehdev and Lakhvir Singh, being released. You can find out more about how to stand with your community via Anti-Raids Network, or check out our toolkit on resisting the Hostile Environment

June

This year we went ‘beyond labels’ for Refugee Week, showcasing the work, talents and stories of some of the people we work with

And, ignoring warnings from JCWI and many other campaign groups, the Home Office did not lift its deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, meaning that overnight, tens or hundreds of thousands of people were stripped of their right to continue living and working in the UK. We will continue to hold the Home Office to account for this decision, and campaign for an end to the Hostile Environment.

July

MPs met to debate reforms to the immigration system to support undocumented migrants, after an incredible grassroots campaign saw 100,000 people sign a petition for an amnesty. Over 800 of you wrote to your MP inviting them to attend the debate and sending a copy of our briefing – which sets out how the immigration system makes people undocumented, the realities of being undocumented, and the urgent need for affordable, accessible pathways to secure status. Here's our recap of the debate.


Later in the month we hosted a roundtable on the digital hostile environment, bringing together campaigners and policy experts from across the migrants’ rights sector to discuss the dangers of the ever-increasing digitisation of the UK immigration system.

August

As horrifying scenes of chaos in Afghanistan unfolded, we coordinated a joint letter to the Home Secretary from over 100 charities and human rights organisations, urging a generous and compassionate welcome to Afghan refugees. And we briefed MPs on the changes needed to protect Afghans already here in the UK, as well as those fleeing the violence in the months and years to come.

September

Over 150 people signed up to take part in our People Move challenge! Walkers, runners, cyclists and more took on challenges across the UK between 18 and 26 September, to raise awareness of the hostile environment and raise funds for our work fighting for migrants’ rights. A huge thank you to everyone who took part!

A special thank you to Lauren and Thia, who have been taking on a different running challenge each month this year to raise £12,700 to support our work. In September, Thia took on the world’s toughest mountain race – the Dragon’s Back Race – while Lauren ran her first ever marathon in Manchester in October. Please support their incredible fundraising effort on JustGiving if you can.

Later in September, our Policy and Advocacy Manager Zoe Gardner answered MPs questions on the Nationality and Borders Bill. Zoe explained that the bill will not achieve its stated aim of ‘deterring’ refugees from coming to the UK, but will cause suffering and misery for many people in the years to come. Here’s Zoe’s brilliant answer when Jonathan Gullis MP asked ‘why don’t asylum seekers just stay in France?’

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October

On 20 October we joined hundreds of others to protest outside Parliament against the Anti-Refugee Bill. Over 250 of you invited your MP to attend the rally to hear directly from people who have endured our broken asylum system – and how the new bill will make this worse.

As politicians gathered in Glasgow to discuss the climate crisis, we hosted an incredible panel of activists campaigning on racial and climate justice - watch the full event here.


And we got the Home Office to stop rejecting visa applications that were ‘missing’ a document that does not exist. It took multiple threats of legal action to get the Home Office to fix a mistake in its policy, and the correction will now enable an estimated 50 families to be reunited. Read more here.

November

In November, we were devastated and angry to learn that at least 27 people lost their lives trying to cross the Channel. Their lives should never been put at risk. They should have been able to travel safely to the UK to have their asylum claim heard. This preventable tragedy must be a turning point in the UK Government's approach to refugee protection. 

Nearly 2,000 people wrote to their MP in the days after the tragedy, calling on them to oppose the Anti-Refugee Bill, which replicates the same old tried-and-failed policies and will lead to further deaths. If you were one of those who wrote to your MP, thank you.

At the end of November we submitted evidence that sets out how, 18 months after the ‘Windrush Lessons Learned Review’ was published, the Home Office has not changed, and justice is still not being done for victims of the Windrush scandal.

December

Thank you if you’re one of the 800 people who has donated to help families rebuild their lives in the UK, this Christmas. We’re so close to our goal of £30,000 – please chip in if you haven’t already.

A huge thank you to all our members who came along to our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 15 December. We shared an update on our work over the past year and heard your views on what we should focus on in the years to come.

And we ended the year with the good news that one of our clients has had his conviction for 'smuggling' quashed by the Court of Appeal. Judges ruled that “fundamental” errors had been made in prosecuting our client and three other men. The Independent revealed that the Home Office had put pressure on the Crown Prosecution Service to target asylum seekers steering boats across the ChannelWe urge the Home Office to now rethink its plans to criminalise people seeking asylum, and call on the government to protect people’s right to seek asylum, regardless of their journey here, and establish safe routes to asylum in the UK now.


As we continue to fight for migrants’ rights in 2022, what gives us hope is the growing number of people speaking out against brutal government policies, joining organisations like ours in solidarity with those affected, and taking action to resist the hostile environment. Together, we can resist the brutality and fight for a future where no one is made to suffer simply because they move. Thank you for your support and solidarity.

We want your feedback! Please take our supporter survey and let us know what you think of JCWI, to help us plan our work over the coming years. The survey takes 8 - 10 mins to complete, and you can win a People Move t-shirt as a thank you for taking part!

Let us know what you think

Join the team in 2022. We are looking for an Interim Legal Director - find out more and apply here.

We hope to see you in January for the launch of our new report into the devastating impacts of the hostile environment during the pandemic.

The JCWI team are now on break until Tuesday 4 January - more details here.

With our best wishes for a restful Christmas time and Happy New Year,

All of us at JCWI