The government has made no secret of the fact that they want to cut immigration. The fact that they are targeting the most vulnerable and marginalised people is not much of a surprise either. The change announced last week will see victims of violence and abuse who are not on spousal visas banned from applying for indefinite leave to remain, although they will be able to apply for a concession to receive benefits and housing and limited leave to remain for 3 months. This distinction, based purely on the type of visa the abusive partner holds, seems arbitrary and undermines the government's supposed commitment to women's rights. They ratified the Istanbul Convention in 2022, but chose to opt out of Article 59, which would have given them a duty of care for migrant women. This line that was drawn between implicitly 'deserving' and 'undeserving' women shows how committed the government really is in their responsibilities to victims-survivors of male violence. As soon as it might interfere with their ability to control immigration, their priorities become clear.

Southall Black Sisters are leading the campaign against these inhumane policies, which they say will create a cliff edge at the end of the 3 months for migrant victim-survivors and will prevent many victim-survivors from reporting abuse due to fear of deportation. The fact that the 'threats' of deportation used by abusers themselves to keep women silent will now become a reality for many more women is an irony not lost on the women's sector. So, what's next? Our 'Speaking Up for Women' campaign wants to get more marginalised women's voices driving policy. The women's sector plays an important role in that. Why should our lives, experiences and needs play second fiddle to the needs of the markets and high-rollers who 'supposedly' generate the wealth in this country? The voices of ordinary people, especially women, are often absent from political decisions that affect us the most, and that needs to change. Sign our petition and please share on social media!