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What we fund - We Belong

Supporting young migrants to understand and enact their rights.

Funding snapshot

Programme area: Ending migrant destitution

Amount: £90,000

Length of grant: 2022-2025

We Belong by Trust for London

Trust for London's grant has enabled us to support and empower young migrants amidst challenging circumstances.

Chrisann Jarrett MBE, CEO

The challenge

In 2021, a new shorter route to settlement was introduced. Young migrants who are fully integrated in the UK would now have five-year route to settlement, rather than the previous 10-years. It’s estimated that that over 300,000 children and young people could benefit from this policy change. It’s now vital that these people are aware of their options. On top of this, in 2023 the government increased visa application costs significantly, meaning settled status is unaffordable for many young people.

The project

We Belong is an organisation led by young migrants, whose vision is for young migrants to be treated equally and fairly in the society they call home. Through years of campaigning, it directly contributed to a shorter route to settlement for young migrants, with the introduction of the five-year route.

We fund We Belong’s Chasing Status project, which – since this campaign success – is working to ensure that as many people benefit from the policy as possible.

This work includes:

  • Engaging with young people who are eligible to secure settlement and citizenship. Providing information, informing young people of their options and signposting to other services when needed. This is led by four young co-producers who carry out community outreach in London boroughs.
  • Co-producing a toolkit enabling young people, teachers and civil society organisations to identify and best support young people with precarious status and their regularisation. The team also offer civil society and community centres training on this toolkit, to improve understanding of young people’s rights and entitlement.
  • Developing partnerships with parliamentarians and civil servants to highlight any issues in the implementation of the new legislation, and to push for an end to the hostile environment.
  • Campaigning for a fee waiver scheme for indefinite leave to remain applications for those who can’t afford to secure the settled status they are eligible for, and to reduce fees to a level that is affordable.  As part of the Chasing Status project, We Belong’s "Out of the Loop" campaign, launched in April 2023, has been instrumental in advocating for policy changes to ensure fair treatment for young migrants. In response to escalating concerns over rising Home Office fees, we have strategically adjusted our campaign to call for fee reductions, reflecting our commitment to addressing financial obstacles faced by young migrants.
  • Establishing a Policy and Parliamentary Working group dedicated to young members of the migrant community and aligning with the organisation’s core values of a youth-led approach has ensured their active involvement in the decision-making process in relation to campaigning and parliamentary events.

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Impact story

The following impact story relates to a young person We Belong has supported in the past year and highlights both the barriers they face, and the difference We Belong can make in empowering young people to navigate the hostile environment.

*Marianne’s Story: Marianne, aged 22, arrived in the UK at the age of 4 and held limited leave for five years. She approached We Belong for assistance with her Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Application. Marianne aimed to independently apply for indefinite leave to remain under the new rules, having previously managed her own renewal applications but still had questions regarding the application process. She was referred to We Belong's legal advice clinic, allowing her to have a one-on-one session with our outreach solicitor. After the session, Marianne felt empowered to proceed with her ILR application. Five months later, she happily informed We Belong of her successful ILR grant. *Names have been changed to protect anonymity.


We Belong takes a holistic approach to supporting and empowering young migrants, and in the year to 01 April 2024, 460 individual young people have engaged in over 900 separate sessions with We Belong.  Services cover a range of areas from personal statement development to wellbeing support, providing crucial guidance and advocacy.

We Belong’s legal advice clinic, established in collaboration with Coram, has been instrumental in empowering young migrants in immigration matters. Since its inception in September 2022, the clinic has advised 81 individuals, with overwhelming feedback highlighting the clinic's impact in expediting residency processes and enabling pursuit of life aspirations.