Migrants’ rights and the General Election 2024

What does the General Election mean for me?

There will be a General Election on 4th July. On that day, people who are allowed to vote can go to a polling station (usually a public building in their local area, like a school) and choose someone to represent them. General Elections have to happen every 5 years, although they sometimes happen more often.

At a General Election, people choose someone to represent their local area – also called a constituency – in Parliament. Each area will have people from different political parties campaigning to be chosen in that area. The people campaigning to be chosen are known as candidates.

The candidate who wins the most votes in your local area becomes your Member of Parliament (MP) – this means they are the person who represents your local area in the House of Commons. There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons, each representing one of the 650 constituencies across the UK. The party that has the highest number of MPs wins the General Election – they then form the Government. If no party has a clear majority, parties may decide to form a Coalition Government, and enter into a power sharing arrangement.

The Government’s party is in charge of the different departments that make decisions about how things run in the country. For example, the Home Office, which makes decisions about immigration and the police, the Department of Health, which makes decisions about healthcare, and the Ministry of Justice, which makes decisions about things like the courts.


Can I vote?

Only people who are British or Irish citizens, or citizens of a Commonwealth country who have the right to remain in the UK, currently have the right to vote in General Elections. If you’re not sure, use this website to check whether you are allowed to vote.

As it stands, around 5 million people living in the UK are barred from voting, just because of the papers they hold. We think this is unfair. We believe everyone who makes the UK their home should have the right to vote, so they get to have a say in decisions that affect their lives.

If you feel the same, check out Migrant Democracy Project’s campaign for people who live in the UK to be allowed to vote, and get involved!

Please be aware that if you do have the right to vote, you will need to take a form of photo ID with you. The list of types of ID that will be accepted is here. If you do not have any of these forms of ID and you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can apply online for a certificate to prove your identity. If you don’t have a valid form of photo ID and you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply for an Electoral Identity Card. Both of these applications are free of charge.

If you have the right to vote but have not registered yet, it takes just five minutes, and you can do so here. Only people registered by the 18th June at 11.59pm will  be able to vote in the general election on 4 July.


How else can I get involved?

Whether or not you are allowed to vote in the General Election, there are lots of different ways to get your voice heard and speak up for migrants’ rights.

You can do things like write to your local candidates – the people competing to represent your local area – to let them know what issues matter to you and where they should be speaking up. You are allowed to do this even if you don’t have the right to vote. You are also allowed to write to your local MP after the election, and even if you’re only living in your local area for a short time.

There are lots of organisations taking action to fight for migrants’ rights, in the run-up to the General Election and beyond. You can find information about a few different campaigns and how to send information about them to your local candidate below:

Contact your candidates and your local newspaper about the Words Matter campaign run by the Migrants’ Rights Network, asking them to pledge to defy divisive rhetoric about migrants


Contact your candidates about migrants’ right to vote, calling for the right to vote for everyone living in the UK

Check out this helpful guidance from Asylum Matters on speaking to your local candidates about the rights of people seeking asylum in the UK


Another great way to get involved is to go to something called a hustings. A hustings is an event where candidates debate different policies and answer questions from the audience. Often people or groups organise a local hustings and invite all the local candidates to come and answer different questions.

Going to one of these events and listening to what the candidates have to say, and asking a question about their views on migrant rights, can be a really powerful way to get involved in the election. Keep an eye out for hustings events in your local area, or search the name of your local area and the word ‘hustings’ to find one. Anyone can attend these events, you don’t need the right to vote.

You could even get more involved by organising your own hustings event. The brilliant organisation Inclusion London has a guide on how to organise your own hustings. Organising an event like this can be a lot of work, so it might be a good idea to join up with other people in your local area to help spread the load.



The term ‘undocumented migrant’ refers to someone living in the UK, whom the Government does not consider has the right to remain. This is usually because they are a ‘non-citizen’ who does not currently have a valid visa or other form of documentation demonstrating their status or right to live in the UK.