Who We Are
History and Purpose
HMSC’s mission is:
to identify and improve the legal position and personal well-being of migrants – irrespective of their status – especially those residing in Haringey and other London boroughs. It will welcome people from all migrant groups, unless they have naturalized as British citizens, with a particular focus on those migrants who are facing multiple disadvantages.
HMSC will work towards its Mission by providing free, professional advice on immigration, housing and welfare issues, as well as signposting, casework and practical support, via a drop-in triage and appointment system. It will campaign on issues relating to migrants, and will raise awareness of migrants’ social and economic circumstances amongst people in the local community. It will provide a safe and welcoming space, thereby helping to reduce social isolation amongst migrants and serving as a hub for social and wellbeing activities. It will operate with an ethos of inclusion and empowerment, offering opportunities for visitors to become involved where possible in supporting themselves and others.
Why a Centre for Migrants?
The proposal to set up a support centre for migrants in Haringey came following concerns from local community groups about the lack of immigration advice and migrant-specific services provided in the borough. Following an initial meeting of some 50 people, a smaller steering group went on to establish the Haringey Migrant Support Centre.
In May 2013, HMSC became a registered charity (no. 1152227).
Cuts to legal aid and statutory bodies have meant that it is increasingly difficult for migrants to access basic services. At the same time, immigration rules in the UK are strict with time limits on many applications, leaving people vulnerable to extortionate fees for poor quality advice, putting their applications in jeopardy.
For many this means a life of destitution, and many of London’s existing services support destitute migrants are struggling to meet demand for their services. Those that relied heavily on government funding are finding it hard to keep going now that budgets have been slashed.
Many migrants arrive in the UK with nothing, little knowledge of the culture and find it difficult to find their way around. At HMSC, we provide a triage service for migrants and offers free immigration advice, and advice/signposting services on welfare and health issues.
We seek to empower our visitors to take control of their cases and support them in the process of feeling settled in our communities.