Campaign with STAR

STAR campaigns to improve conditions for asylum seekers and refugees through online actions, flashmobs, petitions, lobbying MPs and attention-grabbing stunts.

The STAR network is a national charity made up of 27,000 students across over 40 universities who campaign to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. With activists across a number of cities in England, Scotland and Wales, we are the biggest refugee rights campaigning network in Britain!

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STAR’s current campaigns

Equal Access

We want people who are in the UK because they are fleeing persecution to be able to join us at university. This will only happen if they are classed as home students and are given access to bursaries and scholarships open to other vulnerable people.

STAR is leading a campaign in partnership with NUS to ensure that asylum seekers have Equal Access to higher education.

Information about our Equal Access campaign and ideas for how to implement the campaign can be found in our Equal Access toolkit. Before taking steps towards Equal Access, please contact our Access to University Coordinator [email]equal.access@star-network.org.uk[/email].

#FamilyTogether

STAR is part of the #FamiliesTogether coalition alongside Oxfam, Amnesty International, Refugee Council and many others. Strict UK laws mean that many refugees are denied the right to be with the people they love. Such rules are leaving people isolated, traumatised and alone. The #FamiliesTogether campaign aims to achieve an expansion of the UK’s refugee family reunion rules, so that families are no longer kept apart.

We call for:
1. Child refugees in the UK to have the right to sponsor their close family so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate into their new community
2. The definition of who qualifies as family to be expanded so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their family in the UK
3. The reintroduction of legal aid so refugees who have lost everything have the support they need to afford and navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families

Past achievement:

#FamilyTogether campaign was the theme of our Action Day 2020 on 29 January. STAR groups collected Action Cards and wrote letters to their MPs to answer to the coalition’s demand. In response to the amendments on the protection of child refugees in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20, STAR joined an Emergency Family Reunion demonstration on Monday 20 January.

Online resources

#LiftTheBan

STAR is part of the Lift the Ban coalition. Along with more than 230 organisations, we campaign on the right to work for people seeking asylum. People seeking asylum in the UK are effectively banned from working, forcing them onto asylum support (£5.39 per day) whilst they wait for a decision on their claim. They can only apply to the Home Office for permission to work if they have been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for over 12 months, and can only apply for jobs that are on the Government’s incredibly restrictive Shortage Occupation List – like classical ballet dancers.

We call for:
1. The right to work for people seeking asylum, and their adult dependents
2. Their right to work should be unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List
3. The right should be granted after six months of having lodged an asylum claim or further submission

Past achievement:

During Action Week 2020 (9 -15 March), 15 STAR groups organised 18 awareness-raising events regarding #LiftTheBan and reached 4,000 people in total and students gathered 1,200 signatures through petitions. Read the article STAR’s Action Week to Lift the Ban: Round Up for more information.

#TheseWallsMustFall

STAR continues to campaign to demand a complete end to the detention of people seeking asylum.

Safe Routes Save Lives

The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since WWII. Thousands of people have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety in Europe. We want the UK to ensure routes to safety for refugees and save lives by: Allowing refugees to safely join family members in the UK; Providing sanctuary to our fair share of refugees arriving in Europe; Significantly increasing the number of resettlement places available to refugees; Helping ensure there are adequate search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.


Why campaign for refugees?

People fleeing war, torture and persecution face many difficulties in the UK from the increasingly harsh legislation successive governments have introduced, the complicated and confusing process for deciding who should be granted asylum and hostility from the public.
We believe that these negative attitudes and policies are very damaging to refugees, asylum seekers and the wider community; they work against humanitarian principles and prevent community cohesion and do not uphold Britain’s commitment to the UN Refugee Convention. For example:

  • There are very few safe and legal routes to the UK for asylum seekers. Instead they are forced to make dangerous and expensive journeys to seek safety
  • Around a third of decisions to refuse asylum are overturned on appeal.
  • Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and must live on £37.75 per week.
  • Thousands of people who are refused asylum have all their support removed and are left destitute and reliant on charities such as the British Red Cross for handouts.
  • Asylum seekers must pay overseas fees at most universities and are not eligible for student finance.
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How does STAR campaign?

STAR Groups Campaigning Together – Making our voice heard

STAR is made up of thousands of dedicated and creative student activists calling for a change to the policies and laws that damage the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.

Campaigning for change requires a clear message given in a clear voice. To ensure our voice is heard STAR members campaign together through the STAR network, co-ordinated and supported by the STAR team. Each spring the whole network gets together to campaign on the same issue in our Campaign Action Week

Each year we focus on a few important topics so that our message is heard clearly. STAR members decide which issues to campaign on through consultations convened by the STAR team.

Campaigning Partnerships – Making our actions count

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STAR is part of a wider movement of activists working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK. By working together we can make an even bigger difference, so STAR works closely with our friends, including:

UNHCR; Refugee Council; Refugee Action; Amnesty International UK; National Union of Students (NUS)

This means that STAR members become part of something bigger and can time and theme their campaign actions to make the greatest impact!

Campaigning Focus

Campaigning is STAR’s highest profile activity in the public eye. To be effective it is important to maintain clear and focused messages. As a charity STAR also has a legal responsibility to campaign only on those issues that are stated as our charitable objectives.

If your STAR group is planning a campaign not supported by the STAR network it is important that you discuss this with the STAR National team first.

Campaign resources for STAR groups

If you are a committee member of an affiliated STAR group, you may access our Google Drive for more campaigning resources, including guides, leaflets and action cards. Please email us if you do not have access to the Google Drive.

If you would like to be part of a STAR group to access the campaign material, see if you can join a STAR group in your university . Don’t worry if there’s not a group on your campus – you can start your own! Visit the ‘Start a STAR group’ section of the website or contact the STAR National office for more information.