Prof Louise Ryan and Dr Maria Lopez held a seminar presenting their findings directly to government departments.
Date: 30 November 2022
London Met’s Professor Louise Ryan and Dr María López, director and deputy director of the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre, were invited to the Home Office to present the findings of their research ‘Afghan migrants in London: Accessing support in hostile times’.
The seminar was attended by over 60 delegates drawn from both the Home Office and Department of Work and Pensions including senior policy officers, in a rare opportunity to present research findings directly to government departments.
In their presentation, Louise and María provided recommendations aiming to inform the Home Office in the design of their strategic planning around the resettlement and rehousing of refugees. The findings of the study were also cited in a recent article in The Independent newspaper.
The original research, which was funded by a University Transformation grant, aimed to understand the needs of diverse Afghan communities in London and to explore the particular needs of recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers, included those evacuated from Kabul airport in August 2021.
Based on the findings of the research, Louise and María developed an extensive list of recommendations, including relocation advice for the Home Office and Local Authorities, and suggestions for NGOs and statutory services aiming to help new arrivals.
The project benefitted from working with Afghan community organisations, local authorities (Islington, Lambeth and Haringey Councils) and international migrant organisations (Migrants Rights Network).
Resulting from this successful collaboration, Islington Council commissioned Louise and Maria, along with their PhD student Alessia Dalceggio, to undertake an 18-months evaluation of the council’s resettlement plan for Afghan and Syrian refugee families. This new project, which will start formally in January 2023, has clear potential for impacting the strategy of migrant organisations, local authorities and potentially higher policy levels.
At the Home Office, there was genuine interest in knowing London Met academics’ views on the most pressing issues for Afghan refugees around housing, as almost 10,000 Afghans remain in temporary hotel accommodation. There was also interest in knowing about the mechanisms for highly qualified Afghans to navigate the restrictive labour market policies for migrants and refugees in the UK and resist deskilling.