Our Local Votes for Local Migrants campaign supports Migrant Rights. We believe in democracy through conversation. We understand the necessity of granting democratic rights to all stakeholders in society. Today, those born outside Britain but living here make up an estimated 9.6m people. Currently, 1.5 million of this group are unable to vote in local elections, because they are not from the EEA or Commonwealth.
The right of some non-British residents, namely Commonwealth and Irish citizens, to vote in UK elections is a result of historic ties with the UK. Citizens of the Republic of Ireland who are resident in the UK are eligible to register for, and vote in, all elections in the UK.
Qualifying Commonwealth citizens who are resident in the UK are eligible to register for, and vote in, all elections in the UK. EU nationals citizens legally resident in the UK may currently register to vote in all elections that use the local government franchise. The Elections Act 2022 will change the eligibility of some EU citizens to vote in local elections in England and Northern Ireland, and PCC elections in England and Wales.
We’re launching this campaign because we believe granting democratic rights will allow migrants to play an active role in our society. The exclusion of migrant groups from voting in elections has wider societal implications. By giving migrant communities these important rights we can achieve genuine integration and tackle issues of social and economic exclusion while fostering a sense of community cohesion.
Migrants already contribute greatly to our society, both economically and culturally. Giving them the chance to contribute politically will ensure everyone has a voice.