REPORT: People, power and priorities: Insights into the UK refugee and migration sector

A new report from Migration Exchange presents a comprehensive review of the UK refugee and migration sector and funding landscape, and identifies six key priorities for NGOs and funders working in this field.

Migration Exchange, July 2023

The UK’s refugee and migration sector is committed and resilient, despite the hostile environment and deep injustices we’re facing. Together, we have the power, people and expertise to push for long-term structural changes.

Our new report outlines how joining together on priorities, backed up by funding for preparedness and collaboration, can win new ground and protect the values and rights we all share.

The report includes insights and suggested actions on 6 priority areas, as seen by NGO and funders consulted in the research process. These can be summarised as follows:

1- Adapting to external challenges and crises: Funding for more systematic and strategic collaboration, including horizon scanning, shared funding infrastructure and legal advice, can strengthen our power to go beyond rapid response and secure the rights and dignity of people on the move long-term.

2- Financial sustainability and funding – By investing more in those doing ground-breaking work where the need is great, independent funders could spread their support more equally. A shared approach to growing the overall funding pot would also help build a solid foundation for the future.

3- Racial justice, power and lived experience – Real change will only happen when those with power reflect deeply on the lasting impact of colonialism and racial injustice, and start distributing resources differently. Additionally, involving people with lived experience of migration is a vital step towards achieving fundamental, inclusive and collective change.

4- Employee wellbeing and leadership – By urgently investing in collective care, leadership development and fair work and pay policies, we can all feel safe and protected.

5- Influencing and campaigning – To prepare for the 2024 General Election, we can benefit from building wider alliances that link frontline expertise with political influence and power.

6- Alliances and collaboration – Solidarity with people on the move is the bond that connects organisations across our sector. But we need more time and new opportunities to deepen collaborations and broaden our alliances. By pooling our power we can present a united front on the issues that matter most, and create a better future for everyone.


Click the links below to download full report and executive summary.



The Executive Summary presents select findings and themes from the report.

For in-depth insights read the full report. Navigate the interactive PDF by clicking on section headings.

When referencing this report, please cite it as:
M Kaye & R Grove-White, People, power and priorities: Insights into the UK refugee and migration sector. Migration Exchange, July 2023

Next steps

We hope this report will inspire strategic thinking, inform programme design and spark ideas for new collaborative efforts within and beyond the refugee and migration field.

The findings of this report will inform MEX’s own work in line with our five-year strategic framework 

If you’d like to discuss any of the insights, are interested in collaboration, including co-hosting workshops or briefings on specific themes within this report, please get in touch.

Visit our Medium blog to explore blog posts around the report and related topics.




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