Haringey Migrant Support Centre grew from local community groups’ concern 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) and with the support of our volunteers, trustees, funders, community members and our staff team the organisation has continued to grow and serve the community for over a decade.
HMSC is now the only free immigration advice service in Haringey. We are proud to offer wraparound immigration, housing and destitution advice and support which recognises the complex interconnected issues that many of our visitors face.
“It make me feel confident that I can move forward. I was in darkness before. All things I was supposed to do that I was afraid of doing – now I have the light, the ability to do it.” Visitor to HMSC
During our time at HMSC we have seen how cuts to legal aid and statutory bodies have made it increasingly difficult for migrants to access basic services. The majority of our visitors face destitution or homelessness. So called ‘hostile environment’ policies have continued to worsen the situation, by making it impossible for many migrants to access housing, welfare support, healthcare, and other building blocks for a safe and dignified life.
In recent years, immigration policy has become increasingly punitive and opportunities for those fleeing persecution and war at home to find sanctuary in the UK are being eroded. For migrants who are seeking to regularise their status after being undocumented or extend a limited visa immigration rules are very strict, with time limits and high fees applying to many applications. This leaves many of our visitors unable to meet these demands and facing a life of being undocumented, left in limbo, and destitute.
Many of London’s services supporting destitute migrants are struggling to meet demand for their services. Our visitors are struggling like never before, but HMSC is determined to be here for as long as we are needed in our community.
We seek to empower our visitors to take control of their cases and support them in the process of feeling settled in our communities.