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23 November 2018

Immigration Law Conference Provides Platform For Discussion

The impact of Brexit on migrants living and seeking residence in Northern Ireland was one of the themes of a major conference taking place this week.

Over 90 delegates from Government, community, voluntary organisations and the legal profession attended the ‘Immigration Law Conference - Borders and Blurred Lines’ at Law Society House in Belfast.

This is the first time that such a conference has been held providing a platform to examine the legal, social and human rights issues around immigration.

Those attending the conference, which was organised by the Law Society of Northern Ireland - Immigration Practitioners’ Group, had an opportunity to hear from a number of high profile speakers including one of the United Kingdom’s leading Human Rights and immigration advocates, the renown Labour peer, Lord Dubs.

Other speakers at the conference included The Honourable Mr Justice McCloskey, Professor Colin Harvey from Queen’s University Belfast, Maria McCloskey, Chair of the Immigration Practitioners’ Group and Professor Sue Clayton, Director of the Award winning film, Calais Children: A Case to Answer.

Commenting the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Eileen Ewing said:

“The importance of this immigration conference is underscored by Brexit and what will happen next.

Unfortunately in the scrum of political negotiations, sound bites and comments the real story of the impact of Brexit on the most vulnerable and in need has been forgotten and lost.

Part of that story is what impact Brexit will have on those migrants already living in Northern Ireland as well as those seeking residence.

What are their concerns and issues and who is fighting to ensure that they are heard.

This conference provides a platform for them and the many members of the voluntary, community and legal sectors who continue to fight to ensure that they receive representation and support at every level”.

Speaking about the conference, Professor Colin Harvey from Queen’s University said:

This is a timely, welcome and significant event. It is vital that we continue to engage in debate on the human rights and equality implications of immigration law and policy, especially in light of Brexit. There is reason to be deeply concerned about the current and long-term consequences.”

Commenting Maria McCloskey, Chair of the Immigration Practitioners’ Group who helped organise the conference said:

“The immigration law conference is the first in a series of initiatives undertaken by the Immigration Practitioners Group to provide a forum for discussion and information sharing amongst those at the very epicentre of immigration issues in Northern Ireland. We hope that this will assist in a joined up approach to tackling immigration issues.”

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