In the heart of the United Kingdom’s democracy, where voting is the cornerstone of citizen participation, there lies a compelling movement known as “Our Home, Our Vote”. This campaign strives to ensure that voting rights extend to migrant domestic workers, especially those who arrived in 2012, irrespective of their immigration status.
The UK’s voting policies have evolved over the years, leading to a somewhat complex landscape, particularly for domestic workers. It is important to note that British citizens have the right to vote in general elections, while individuals with settled status are allowed to vote in local elections. However, for many migrant domestic workers who arrived after 2012, a lack of settled status can restrict our voting rights even though our lives are deeply rooted in the UK.
The “Our Home, Our Vote” is a campaign initiative of the Migrant Democracy Project, a call to action, a cry for inclusivity, and a plea for equity in the democratic process. At its core, the campaign advocates for granting voting rights in local elections to those of us who arrived in the UK after 2012.
Why do Local Election Voting Rights Matter?
Recognising residency: For many migrant domestic workers who have settled into life in the UK, being denied voting rights in local elections is akin to being silenced. We often spend years providing essential services to UK households and allowing us to vote recognises our significant contribution to the country and keeping our democratic and human rights to vote.
Empowering Voices: Granting voting rights in local elections empowers us to have a say in the decisions that directly impact our lives. This includes matters like education, housing, public services, and labour laws. Without a voice in these areas, our concerns often go unheard.
Promoting Inclusivity: Inclusivity is a fundamental value in a democratic society. Extending voting rights to all residents, regardless of immigration status, promotes inclusivity and ensures that everyone is counted in the democratic process. This move aligns with the UK’s diverse and multicultural society.
Strengthening Communities: Empowering migrant domestic workers with voting rights in local elections strengthens local communities. When we can actively engage in the decision-making process, we are more likely to invest in the well-being and development of our neighbourhoods. This leads to more cohesive and vibrant communities.
Legal Protections and Labour Rights: Voting allows us migrant domestic workers to participate in shaping labour laws and regulations. This involvement can lead to improved working conditions, fair wages, and legal protection from exploitation.
The “Our Home, Our Vote” campaign is a vehicle for change, a platform that amplifies the voices of those who have long been marginalised. It seeks to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes and highlight the importance of extending voting rights to migrant domestic workers. By including us, regardless of our immigration status, in local elections, the campaign envisions a more just and equitable society where everyone has a voice.
The Voice of Domestic Workers plays a pivotal role in this campaign. This grassroots organisation actively represents the interests of domestic workers, including us who arrived in the UK after 2012. VODW lobbies for our rights, connects us with resources, support, and information, and empowers us in our pursuit of better working conditions, legal protections, and voting rights. They are the driving force behind this campaign, ensuring that our voices are heard and that our rights are restored and upheld.
We believe every resident, no matter where they are from, should have equal access to democratic participation in the UK. We want to empower migrants to actively participate in politics and shape a fairer immigration system. Agree?
Over 1.5 million people in the UK do not have any right to vote. Ask your elected representatives to support the Our Home Our Vote campaign and extend voting rights to all residents.