Skip to content
Information icon

Working hard for change

Find out more about how the council is pushing politically for change in national policy and how residents, businesses and local partners can get involved too.

Sometimes national immigration policy or practice can make it difficult to achieve our objectives as a borough that is committed to reducing poverty, ending rough sleeping and challenging inequality.

We are passionately committed to ensuring that refugees, migrants and residents seeking asylum are given a warm welcome into our community.

Role of Government

Immigration policy is decided by the UK's government. The Home Office and the UK Visas and Immigration department decide who can live in the UK. They are responsible for making all decisions on visa applications, asylum claims and who is eligible for resettlement schemes.

The Home Office is also responsible for managing the spread across the country, accommodation and support needs of asylum seekers while a decisions on asylum claims are being made.

Role of local government

In Islington, our responsibility is to serve our community and meet the needs of all residents. The council takes an active role in raising policy concerns with Government and advocating for asylum and immigration practice that does not lead to homelessness and poverty. We want to make sure that residents’ voices are being listened to, and their concerns are being raised with the immigration authorities or the Government. 

Islington is pressing for change

Over the past decade, the Government has passed various new pieces of legislation that have resulted in a wide number of changes and challenges for Islington’s residents and the council. Here are just some of the ways in which Islington have challenged national government.


  • The council formally responded to the Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and Lessons Learned consultations on behalf of residents and council services highlighting how the scheme was not fit for purpose.
  • Islington’s councillors called on the Government to immediately guarantee the rights of local people from EU countries and delivered a petition of over 1,000 names to 10 Downing Street as part of their overall campaign.


The council wrote to the Home Office advising them that under-resourcing NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) Connect had cost implications for us, other councils and the people we support.


We co-signed a letter asking the Home Secretary to take action to speed up asylum claim processing times and advise that the UK’s asylum system desperately needs an overhaul. 


  • We joined councils from across London to condemn the Home Office’s treatment of asylum seekers accommodated in hotels. We asked for four key areas of improvement:
    • stopping the removal of people at only hours’ notice
    • improved communication and transparency with local authorities
    • ensuring basic needs are met including food and healthcare provision
    • finding a permanent housing solution for people stuck in hotels.
  • We also wrote to the Minister for Immigration expressing the council’s deep concern over the increase in homelessness amongst newly granted refugees caused by a change to eviction periods by the Home Office. 
  • The NRPF Network continues to work on behalf of councils to identify what policy change is needed to prevent people with no recourse to public funds from experiencing destitution and homelessness, and to prevent cost-shunts to local government.

What we have asked of Government

  • Reimburse councils when they provide financial support to adults with care needs and destitute families who are restricted from claiming benefits by their immigration status.
  • Ensure future residency rights of EU residents and their family members are fully protected under the EU Settlement Scheme (including when people need to upgrade from ‘pre-settled’ to ‘settled’ status after 5 years’ residency in the UK). 
  • Widen access to discretionary support measures so that all residents, regardless of their immigration status, can access support during the cost-of-living crisis or emergency situations. 
  • Expand safe and legal routes for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to come to the UK, properly fund local authorities so they can meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve and make legal aid available for immigration cases.
  • Grant the right to work to all asylum seekers after they have waited six months for their initial asylum claim, increase the Local Housing Allowance and lift the benefit cap.

How you can get involved

Whether you're a resident, a business, school or university, or community group, we have suggestions for how you can help our community become more welcoming.

Executive Member for Equalities, Communities and Inclusion

About our migrant champions

In 2018, Islington Council was the first borough to create a formal migrant’s champion role. We recognise that it is important to have named councillors act as migrant champions, with their appointment confirming our commitment to our migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking community.

Our migrant champions get involved with a wide range of work, including:

  • meeting with local migrant, refugee groups and organisations to hear first-hand about their concerns and issues
  • highlighting the achievements and contribution of the migrant community by speaking at public events
  • advocating and campaigning for change through dialogue with relevant Secretaries of State and calling out the government’s hostile environment and its impact.

Our migrant champions stand against hate and prejudice, use their platform to bust myths around migrant communities, and do all they can to ensure migrants, refugees, and residents seeking asylum know they are welcome. 

Was this information helpful?

Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.