On 11 October 2023, Right to Remain ran a workshop with Sharpen Her: The African Women’s Network in Glasgow. This was part of a series of workshops organised by Sharpen Her, aimed at boosting the resilience and integration of migrant women in Glasgow. This project is designed to build African women’s capacity and empowerment, and create an environment to enhance self-advocacy skills. After the series of workshops, the trainees graduate to celebrate their achievements, and start their roles as peer mentors, acting as ‘tour guides’ through life in the UK. This session, on the immigration system and NRPF, is the second in the series.
The aim in this 1 and half hour session was to introduce participants to certain topics within the UK immigration system and NRPF, as well as to explain how to use and share the Right to Remain Toolkit. This group of women are training to be mentors to other migrant women in Glasgow, so it was important that they left the session feeling confident about our resources.
What did we cover in the workshop?
In this workshop, we covered how to use the Toolkit, pointing out that the Toolkit can be used on your phone. The group used our flyers to scan a QR code to take them to the website. We then did an interactive exercise on searching the Toolkit for specific topics. You can type keywords into the ‘search bars’, which will take you to the relevant Toolkit page.
The Toolkit is a resource that can be used to help answer specific questions about asylum and immigration in the UK. The aim of this exercise is not to treat the Toolkit as something to be memorised, but as a resource to dip into for answers and to share with others.
We spoke about the importance of sharing the knowledge from the Toolkit with people in the community: it is a free, accessible resource which is available for everyone to use.
We also covered ‘NRPF’ – the No Recourse to Public Funds visa condition, and what this means for the people it affects. The NRPF visa condition affects approximately 1.4 million people in the UK, including those on many different types of visas. To start, we did a True/False myth-busting quiz on some of the facts about NRPF. The group were heartened to learn that the NRPF visa condition has now been ruled unlawful many times.
When it comes to NRPF, there is a lot of confusion about what a ‘public fund’ means. For example, free school meals do not count as a public fund: so families with NRPF visa conditions may be eligible for free school meals. We spoke about Scotland specific funds – and learnt that benefits administered by Social Security Scotland are classed as ‘public funds’. This includes the Scottish Child Payment, which those with NRPF are not eligible for.
Many people do not know that there are possible exceptions to the NRPF visa condition, and that it can be lifted. This is through something called a Change of Conditions application. We spoke about who is eligible for this, and the process of applying.
We shared with the group that figures from June 2023 showed that 78% of applications to have the NRPF condition lifted were successful.
The workshop was a success, and was a great opportunity to introduce the Toolkit to a new audience. It was encouraging to see that participants were surprised at the size of the Toolkit, and the range of topics it covers.
Before we started, we asked the group if they had ever heard of Right to Remain or the Toolkit, and most hadn’t. We also asked participants to rate how confident they felt in the topics we were going to cover out of 10, and the majority gave themselves scores from 0-2 out of 10. Starting from this foundation, we took our time to introduce the resources slowly. By the end of the session participants rated their confidence much more highly, at around 7 or 8 out of 10!
This was a group with no prior knowledge of Right to Remain or the Toolkit, so it was really useful to be able to introduce ourselves in this way. Thanks to Sharpen Her for inviting us to be a part of this workshop series.
Get in touch if you’d like to request a workshop for your group!
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