Read about this volunteering opportunity below. Please note that for this year only, applicants must come from the undergraduate Refugee and Asylum Law Module or the Postgraduate Refugees, Rights and Realities course. We hope to be able to extend the opportunities to other students in future years.
You need to submit CV and covering letter by 3pm on Friday 30 November (full details of the application process below).
The Asylum Support and Immigration Reource Team (ASIRT) is based in Newtown Birmingham. ASIRT is a charity which works to improve access to justice for asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in the West Midlands. The project is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC), meaning that we are able to assist people with the preparation of fresh asylum representations and appeals to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. We can also represent people at Tribunal level.
The majority of our clients are individuals who have have been failed by the asylum system; having had asylum claims refused- often with poor or no legal representation at appeal- they are left in a legal limbo situation, allowed no status in the UK but unable to return to their countries of origin, whether because they are simply terrified to contemplate such a return, or because they come from countries to which the UK is unable to facilitate removal. Around two-thirds of the people who approach us for assistance are literally destitute at the point of their first contact, and we therefore also attempt to address this situation, both through the provision of short term assistance and support, including food parcels and cooked meals, as well as by means of long-term legal advocacy seeking to improve their situation.
See the ASIRT website for more details at http://www.asirt.org.uk
2. What Student Volunteers Will Do
Students work with the immigration and asylum and advisors as well as, depending on clients' needs, the Co-ordinator of Destitution Support Services. Their role is to work under the guidance of the advisers in the team to undertake work on cases and to see clients, This gives the student an excellent opportunity to develop their interviewing skills and to learn about immigration and asylum law in practice. Students would also be expected to help prepare for cases to go to Tribunal or court and carry out other tasks, such as assisting with the completion of applications for asylum support, or referrals to the Local Authority for section 17 Children Act assessments.
ASIRT can offer volunteer placements to students who are willing to commit to at least one 3 and a half our session a week for term 2. Students are welcome to volunteer for more sessions as well as during holidays if they wish. It is envisaged that the volunteering sessions will take place on Thursdays each week between 10.00am and 1.30pm.
ASIRT's staff work under considerable pressure and demand for services is already high. The situation is likely to become still more pressing post-April 2013, when some 96% of immigration work goes out of the scope of legal aid funding. Students are therefore expected to contribute positively, to be reliable and to take the opportunity seriously. Many of ASIRT's clients will be stressed, anxious and traumatised both by the experiences which caused them to seek asylum, and by the culture of disbelief which permeates the UK's asylum system. For immigration and asylum clients the issues at stake are very high and students will need to display empathy as well as instilling confidence in the client.
ASIRT staff work under considerable pressure and demand for services is very high. Students are therefore expected to contribute positively, to be reliable and to take the opportunity seriously. Many ASIRT clients will be stressed and anxious and they place their trust in the organisation. For immigration and asylum clients the issues at stake are very high and students will need to display empathy as well as instilling confidence in the client.
3. How to Apply
If you think you have the right skills and you can make the required time commitment, please make an application. Applicants must be taking Refugee and Asylum Law & Policy (UG) or Refugees, Rights and Realities (PG).
Applicants should submit a short CV (maximum 2 pages) and 150 word covering letter explaining why they want to volunteer at the Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team (ASIRT) in Birmingham and why they should be chosen. Applications should be sent by email to Dallal Stevens (Dallal.Stevens@warwick.ac.uk). The application process will be as follows:
Friday 30 November at 3.00pm – Deadline for submission of CV and covering letter.
Monday 3 December at 9.00am - Shortlisted students will be requested to attend interview.
Tuesday 4 December – Shortlisted candidates will attend interviews in the Law School.
Monday 7 January 2013 onwards – Successful candidates should be ready to start volunteering at ASIRT.
The Centre for Human Rights in Practice will make a contribution towards the travel expenses of successful applicants.