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Job ad: Legal and Policy Director, Rainbow Migration

Job ad: Legal and Policy Director, Rainbow Migration

Updated on August 2021 version with change of one essential criterion from ‘necessary’ to ‘advantageous’

Rainbow Migration, the leading UK charity dedicated to supporting LGBTQI+ people through the asylum and immigration system, is recruiting a dynamic new position of Legal & Policy Director. We have built an impressive reputation for the quality and influence of our work among other organisations and within government. This new role will take our influencing work to change the asylum and immigration system to the next level, and to further develop our unique immigration advice service (one-off advice only; not direct legal representation). This is an exciting period of development for Rainbow Migration and we are looking for a candidate with strategic nous and the expertise to shape our legal service. The Legal & Policy Director will define this role as we approach our 30th anniversary against a backdrop of developing legislative challenges.

You will:

  • Work with the Executive Director, Campaigns Manager, and Communications Manager to develop a high-impact influencing strategy
  • Apply your litigation and policy experience to deliver change in areas such as refugee status determination, detention and asylum support
  • Lead strategic litigation in the UK and the European Court of Human Rights
  • Create and coordinate a new Rainbow Migration legal advisory group
  • Be responsible for the design and delivery of Rainbow Migration’s legal advice service, ensure compliance with regulators, and supervise the delivery of immigration advice on asylum and partnership applications by staff and volunteer lawyers
  • Recruit and supervise a new legal officer, delivering advice on asylum yourself until they are in post
  • Design and deliver training to lawyers, NGOs, civil servants and others
  • Build knowledge and skills among immigration caseworkers and lawyers to represent LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum. 

At Rainbow Migration, we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it. We’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. We consider all qualified applicants, consistent with any legal requirements. 

We welcome applications from candidates with lived experience of going through the UK asylum or immigration system and people of colour who are currently underrepresented among our staff. We will also interview all disabled applicants who meet the necessary criteria for this vacancy.

Owing to the nature of the work giving immigration advice to vulnerable adults including people in detention, the successful applicant will be required at the point of conditional job offer to disclose all spent and unspent criminal records and subsequently to undergo an enhanced DBS check. See our website for more information.

This role is largely funded by Justice Together.

CONTRACT TYPE:  Permanent

HOURS: Full-time (35 hours per week). We will consider part-time or job share. Please state in your application what hours you are looking to work. Occasional evening work is required, and possibly at weekends, but with plenty of notice. Rainbow Migration encourages staff to maintain a good work life balance and has a TOIL system in place.

SALARY: Starting at £55,000 with potential annual step increases up to £59,534 (pro rata if working part time), plus statutory employer’s pension contribution. In addition to an annual step increase, the trustees consider giving a separate inflationary increase every April. 

LOCATION: Rainbow Migration’s offices are based in Borough, Central London, and this role would normally be office-based. At the time of posting this advert, all Rainbow Migration staff are working from home due to Covid-19. A mix of working at home and/or the office is likely for the foreseeable future. You must be available to work from our offices in London when face-to-face service delivery resumes, from which time there might also be occasional travel outside London with plenty of notice.

ANNUAL LEAVE: 25 days per year rising after 24 months by 1 day after each year of service to maximum of 28 days per year (pro rata if working part-time).

CLOSING DATE: 9.00 am Tuesday 28 September

INTERVIEW DATES: TBC

HOW TO APPLY: Please read the job description and person specification. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@rainbowmigration.org.uk.

Job Description 

Purpose

The Legal & Policy Director is a new, senior role that will help us achieve Rainbow Migration’s strategic goals:

  1. Asylum and immigration system treats LGBTQI+ people fairly and with dignity
  2. LGBTQI+ people who need protection are granted leave to remain
  3. Optimum wellbeing and no isolation among LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees.

and the following outcomes from Rainbow Migration’s current strategy (subject to review):

  1. LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum are more likely to be granted leave to remain
  2. LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum receive quality legal representation
  3. LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum overcome time-critical challenges to their asylum claims
  4. LGBTQI+ people present better asylum claims
  5. Increased lawyer capacity in LGBTQI+ claims
  6. Increased geographic diversity of lawyers with knowledge of LGBTQI+ asylum claims
  7. LGBTQI+ people making partnership immigration applications receive quality legal advice
  8. Improved government policies and practice relating to LGBTQI+ asylum claims
  9. LGBTQI+ people are treated fairly and with dignity during substantive asylum interviews
  10. Updated UNHCR guidelines on SOGIESC asylum claims 
  11. Improved practice by judges in immigration tribunals
  12. Better treatment of LGBTQI+ people in tribunals
  13. Reduced detention of LGBTQI+ people
  14. LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum are in safe and appropriate housing.

Responsibilities

Policy influencing

  • Use Rainbow Migration’s services, and input from other organisations supporting LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, as an evidence base for influencing work
  • Work with the Executive Director, Campaigns Manager and Communications Manager to develop and deliver a high-impact influencing strategy
  • Assist the Executive Director and other colleagues with legal and policy analysis and understanding 
  • Work with the Executive Director and Campaigns Manager to ensure meaningful involvement of people with lived experience in all Rainbow Migration’s influencing work
  • Learn from influencing successes and failures, and adapt strategies or plans accordingly
  • Keep up to date with national and international policy and legal developments and identify influencing opportunities 
  • Write high-quality policy and briefing papers or reports 
  • Attend meetings with civil servants, parliamentarians, ministers and other policy-makers, influencers or allies
  • Act as a spokesperson for Rainbow Migration in the media and at events
  • Work collaboratively with NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve change
  • Support the Executive Director, Campaigns Manager and Communications Manager in other policy, advocacy and influencing efforts.

Strategic litigation

  • Identify opportunities for intervention that could help achieve Rainbow Migration’s strategic goals 
  • Work alongside partner organisations and allies in the UK and other countries to identify common goals and intervene or litigate where priority opportunities arise
  • Intervene in or support strategic litigation in the UK and European Court of Human Rights.

Service delivery

  • Supervise and manage the delivery of advice on asylum and partnership applications by the legal officer, support services colleagues and volunteer lawyers, providing training and guidance as necessary
  • Recruit and manage a new legal officer, supervising them to lead on providing advice to people seeking asylum once recruited, and until such time:
    • Deliver one-off first and second-tier advice on asylum, and provide occasional casework assistance e.g. helping to prepare witness statements, making referrals to other specialist organisations and taking other urgent steps (whilst not representing asylum seekers or maintaining a caseload)
    • Provide occasional advice (within competence) on other issues affecting asylum and partnership clients such as asylum support, legal aid, trafficking, family reunion or community care.
    • Work with support services colleagues to refer asylum clients to quality legal aid and pro bono lawyers.
  • Ensure Rainbow Migration’s continued registration with OISC and ensure compliance with OISC and SRA regulations. 

Capacity building

  • Design and deliver training to lawyers, judges, civil servants, NGOs and others
  • Roll out Rainbow Migration’s charter of good practice and promote other mechanisms to increase the quality and availability of advice on LGBTQI+ asylum
  • Establish and coordinate an email network of lawyers and caseworkers representing LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to enable the exchange of information and learning.
  • Provide second-tier advice and assistance to lawyers and others on LGBTQI+ asylum claims until a legal officer is recruited. 

Other

  • Create and coordinate a new legal advisory group who will assist with legal analysis, strategic litigation, and informing Rainbow Migration’s work more widely
  • Keep the Executive Director informed on legal and policy matters
  • Work with legal trustees to give policy and legal advice to the Board of Trustees
  • Write blogs and articles on asylum and immigration
  • Write reports on relevant issues for trustees, donors and other stakeholders 
  • Comply with all Rainbow Migration policies
  • Undertake other reasonable tasks as requested.

Reporting 

The Legal & Policy Director will report to the Executive Director of Rainbow Migration. 

Person Specification

Skills and experience can be gained from a variety of places: paid or voluntary work, training, general interest, and life experience.

Necessary skills and experience

  1. Track record of successfully influencing policymakers
  2. Ability to write engaging policy and briefing papers or reports
  3. 5 years’ experience providing asylum legal advice and representation
  4. Qualified solicitor or barrister (authorised to practice without a supervising solicitor in a legal advice centre) with valid practising certificate OR already accredited to Level 3 OISC
  5. Litigation experience, preferably on LGBTQI+ asylum cases
  6. Experience of representing LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, including under legal aid
  7. Ability to build relationships with and influence the legal community
  8. Ability to design and deliver training and workshops for a variety of participants
  9. Ability to build rapport and communicate sensitively and sympathetically with traumatised and/or vulnerable people.

Advantageous skills and experience

  1. Experience of writing and delivering influencing strategies
  2. Understanding of the parliamentary and legislative process
  3. Experience of scrutinising legislation 
  4. Experience of conducting research for use in influencing
  5. Ability to speak confidently in public and/or give interviews to the media
  6. Knowledge of other immigration law and policy that may also apply to LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, such as trafficking, partner/spouse leave, detention and bail
  7. Current IAAS accreditation at level 2 caseworker or above 
  8. Knowledge/experience of legal aid funding regulations relating to asylum and immigration and judicial review
  9. Experience of delivering advice on partnership immigration applications
  10. Experience of providing second tier advice
  11. Experience in supervising, training and mentoring the provision of advice services
  12. Qualified LAA Supervisor.

Essential core competencies expected of all Rainbow Migration staff

  1. Passionate about equality and human rights, particularly in regard to LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum
  2. Good English verbal and written communication skills
  3. Ability to work independently while understanding the importance of seeking guidance and support when required
  4. Ability to plan and prioritise work and meet deadlines
  5. Ability to work collaboratively within a small, multidisciplinary team 
  6. Ability to work occasionally outside regular office hours
  7. Ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds
  8. Ability to use standard workplace software programmes including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Owing to the nature of the work giving immigration advice to vulnerable adults including people in detention, the successful applicant will be required at the point of conditional job offer to disclose all spent and unspent criminal records and subsequently to undergo an enhanced DBS check. See our website for more information.

Download the application form.

Download the monitoring form.

The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.