Building knowledge – for ourselves and for others – is a key tool in the fight for change. The more we understand about the current system, the easier it is to see why change is so urgently needed. Here are some ideas of how you can equip yourself and others with knowledge, and build the power that comes from it. 

Get informed (5-minute action):

Click here to download an info pack of everything you need to know about the campaign for the right to safe, dignified and legal work for everyone. You can also click here to explore different aspects of the hostile environment, and learn more about how they run borders through our communities and stoke racism. If you find them useful, share them with friends!

Write to your MP (5-minute action):

It’s not just your own knowledge that you can build. The Member of Parliament for your local area (also called your constituency) might need to know more about the damage the Hostile Environment does, and why safeguarding everyone’s right to earn a living is the only way to make work safe for us all.

Click here to access a template letter you can send to your local MP explaining why it makes sense, and makes us all safer, to give everyone the right to safe work. The letter asks them to sign something called an Early Day Motion – a petition in Parliament that can only be signed by MPs – calling on the government to make sure everyone has the right to safe and dignified work, no matter their immigration status.


Meet your MP to discuss the right to work (2-hour action):

This is an action for anyone who wants to take engaging with their MP a step further. As a constituent, you have the right to ask your MP to meet with you (probably over video call) and talk about a specific topic you’re passionate about. These meetings usually last around 40 minutes, and can be a really powerful way of helping MPs to see the impact that policies have on their communities, and how local people feel about those policies. The same goes for your local councillors, who make decisions about how things work in your local area.

If you’re interested in meeting with your local MP or councillor, get in touch with us so we can make sure you have all the resources you need, and that you feel ready to explain to them why this issue is so important to you.

Build knowledge (60-minute action):

Lots is known about how the Hostile Environment works in general – but you might know less about how it affects people in your local community. A powerful tool for finding out how the Hostile Environment causes harm in our communities is something called a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Freedom of information laws mean you have the right to request information from any public body, for free. FOI requests help journalists and campaigners get all kinds of information from public bodies (even if those bodies sometimes don’t want to make it public). For example, people have used FOI requests to find out how much money their local NHS trust spends on stopping migrants from accessing healthcare, or which local councils in their area make destitute families face immigration checks when they try to access much-needed support.

Have a think about which public bodies are involved in enforcing the Hostile Environment in your local area, and what you’d like to know about. For example, you might want to find out more about how your local police force, NHS trust, council or university enforces the Hostile Environment. Click here to read our short guide on making an FOI request, and some tips on how to increase your chances of getting some interesting information. Then, head to WhatDoTheyKnow, a website where you can submit an FOI request and track its progress, completely free. Please share your FOI with us, by emailing a link to [email protected] – we’d love to see it!

You’ll probably have to wait about a month (and sometimes longer) to get an answer. If your request is refused, head back to our FOI guide for some tips on what to do next. If your request is successful, and you get some interesting information back, think about reaching out to a local journalist to get them to cover it as a news story. Getting an article in the local paper can be a great way to help people understand that the Hostile Environment – something that can seem quite abstract to those not experiencing it directly – has a real and damaging impact on your local community. If you’d like some guidance on how to go about this, drop us an email on [email protected], and we can talk you through it.


Learn together (ongoing action):

If you want to learn even more about the Hostile Environment, and the damage that borders have done and continue to do, why not do it with others? Start an informal reading group to learn about things like Britain’s colonial history and how it relates to today’s system of border control, and share ideas about what you’ve read.

If you want to share and discuss online articles, films, poetry and so on, click here for some suggestions. If you’re ready to broaden your knowledge through full-length books, we’ve got some recommendations of relevant fiction and non-fiction here. You can download a copy of some of them for free – for the ones which aren’t available for free, you can always check your local library to see whether they’re in stock there.

If you’ve read something amazing that has informed or inspired you about these topics, but don’t see it on the list, please let us know! You can submit suggestions of other things you’ve read here, and we’ll add it to the list so that others can share in your learning.