The idea behind Here for Good started in 2017, by Bella Mosselmans and Tahmid Chowdhury, at the time two young law graduates who wanted to stand up for citizens’ rights following the Brexit referendum result. Concerned that the rights of European citizens and their families were being forgotten, they conducted in-depth research and found that there was only one legal advice centre providing free immigration advice for every 35,000 European citizens living in the UK.
As it became clear that the UK Government wasn’t going to prioritise giving Europeans and their families security, they set out to do it themselves. With the support of partners at Bindmans LLP and Wesley Gryk LLP, Here for Good’s charity model was developed in the summer of 2017. The aim of the charity was to address the immigration crisis that arose as a result of Brexit.
Here for Good was officially founded in Feburary 2018 to provide free and high-quality legal advice to Europeans and their family members to secure their immigration status in the UK. The charity initially started as a small network of volunteer lawyers. It now has grown to have a full-legal team based at different partner organisations and a growing network of over 75 volunteer lawyers. The charity has also expanded to address different immigration crises, as highlighted further below.
Since its founding in February 2018, the charity has:
- Successfully supported thousands of people to secure their UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme through our advice service and pro bono network of lawyers, and the outcomes of our strategic litigation work impacted tens of thousands more.
- Produced a free immigration advice guide called ACT NOW with the support of Wesley Gryk and Bindmans. This was one of the most accessible and accurate sources for Europeans and their non-European family members on their post-Brexit residency rights in the UK and was used by over 30,000 citizens.
- Delivered a training programme, commissioned by the Greater London Authority (‘GLA’), to build the capacity of immigration advisers supporting in-need groups to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Over 480 advisers UK-wide, signed up to attend the online training sessions which dealt with particularly complex client situations.
- Collaborated with the GLA and the European Commission to map advice and services provision available to Europeans in London and across the UK, so they can identify free providers. These platforms have been accessed by millions of people.
- Participated in high profile outreach events in places with a high footfall, such as high streets, community centres and markets under the Mayor of London’s London Is Open campaign to ensure that our network of lawyers reached as many European citizens in need of free advice as possible.
- Leaned into its objective to support in-need migrants where legal aid provision is not available and challenge systemic issues in the UK immigration system.
- When the war broke out in Ukraine in 2022, Here for Good quickly assembled a team of lawyers to set up an advice service for people seeking safety in the UK. Using its unique model of working in partnership with law firms, Here for Good was able to start providing legal support and conducting strategic work within weeks of the UK Ukraine schemes opening.
- In response to the failure of the UK Government to provide sanctuary to those fleeing Afghanistan, Here for Good has set up a partnership to conduct strategic legal work for Afghan refugees who are denied or fall outside the rules of the UK’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme.
Here for Good is committed to continue to respond meaningfully and intentionally to emerging immigration crises where free legal assistance is not available.