Contents

General Info

Healthcare

Social Distancing and Stay-at-Home Guidance

Migrant Centres

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Housing and Homelessness

Food Banks

Legal Updates

Legal Advice

Local Mutual Aid Groups

Open Letters with Demands

Donation Requests

Translation/Language Resources

Individual Offers

General Info

This list is not exhaustive and will be continually updated as new information is obtained and as the situation develops. We do our best to ensure that all information is accurate but please do contact one of the group admins should you have any concern about any information provided or about the conduct of any organisation that has been referenced. Please help us to continue to build this list by sending us further info/resources.

If you need to make an anonymous request please message us directly or email mutualaidforrefugees@gmail.com and we will make one on your behalf.

*Refugee Council have collated and are regularly updating a list of Changes to Home Office Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/changes-to-home-office-asylum-resettlement-policy-and-practice-in-response-to-covid-19/

Student Action for Refugees have compiled this list of resources for refugees and asylum seekers, some of which may overlap with this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IfLzSQW9jVOg8zMizp7j8d_ObQevbqE-9wL0QZuqcxY/

Refugee Action's Good Practice and Partnerships Team has also produced a http://www.coronavirusasylumhandbook.com  with advice and resources for organisations in the sector.

Support guidelines

Queer Care have created an extensive list of guidelines on how to offer support safely, including advice on how to collect items from someone who is infected or someone who is immunocompromised: https://wiki.queercare.network/index.php?title=Category:Covid 

A guide for supporting migrants has also been made by Migrants Organise, JCWI, Docs not Cops and Med Act:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11cKMCy08ebN-lJQsP1jvsTcSfwC6YeE8FYrmAZCoZ1w/edit?fbclid=IwAR0EAVRK_RztXnWyoVUUn_5eGkqJpTeH1FolLfwum_T7r-FgBXxUv-oaTAo 

*Please note that LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants) have been able to set aside a small hardship fund to reimburse some costs for provisions in extreme cases where all other options have been exhausted. For example, if you would like to deliver emergency food supplies to a vulnerable person in your area but cannot cover this yourself. If this is the case, please contact one of the group admins and/or email mutualaidforrefugees@gmail.com and we can discuss a transfer. In these cases we ask that you keep all receipts of goods purchased.  

Healthcare

All NHS services for coronavirus are free for everyone regardless of their immigration status in the UK. This includes coronavirus treatment and testing, even if the result is negative. NHS hospitals have been advised that no immigration checks are required for people receiving testing or treatment for COVID-19.

Docs not Cops have provided the following info points:

  • Advice from NHS 111, and treatment in a GP surgery or A&E department, are always free.
  • There is no charge for examinations or tests to find out if a person has coronavirus.  
  • There is no charge for hospital treatment for confirmed coronavirus.
  • You can print Health Rights Cards explaining entitlements to care here.
  • You can also print COVID-19 specific info cards here.
  • However - please note that if migrants are chargeable, they will still be charged for care unrelated to coronavirus. If they test negative but still need treatment, they’ll be charged for all treatment they are given after this result.
  • Sometimes the NHS shares the name, address, and date of birth of a patient with the Home Office. This can happen if the hospital is trying to determine a person’s eligibility for care, or if a person has a debt to the NHS.
  • For more information, contact docsnotcops@gmail.com and jamesskinnner@medact.org.

Doctors of the World has translated NHS guidelines into 23 languages: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information.

Docs Not Cops have created info cards to share with local Mutual Aid groups: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1XCBJG4WSO8loWEOCFwv2tGFs8am7z_IV

Social Distancing and Stay-at-Home Guidance

The government has translated guidance for self-isolation and social distancing into the following languages: Arabic, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish and Welsh.

Migrant Centres

Most migrant centres are not currently offering in-person support but are still providing other assistance and resources. The following are updates about the services available and how to access them.

·      Action for Refugees in Lewisham (https://www.afril.org.uk/) - in-person support has been suspended, but those who need help or want to volunteer can contact info@afril.org.uk or call 07872161271.

·      Lewisham Migrant and Refugee Network (https://www.lrmn.org.uk/) - LRMN is open but face to face work with clients has been suspended. To reach them please email info@lrmn.org.uk or call 07716486120

·      Newham Renewal Programme (https://www.renewalprogramme.org.uk) - closed but taking calls at 02084716954

·      Project 17 (Hackney) - 07701330016 or 07963509044 or info@project17.org.uk

·      South London Refugee Association (Lambeth) (https://www.slr-a.org.uk/)- SLRA continues to give telephone advice), as well as providing donations and hardship grants to those who are at risk of or experiencing destitution or homelessness

If you are an asylum seeker, if you are struggling because you have irregular immigration status or you are a new refugee  or if you are concerned about someone who is in this situation then please get in touch. To find out more about current services below or to refer an adult, a family or a young person call our office: 02034903443 or email info@slr-a.org.uk or call/ text or Whatsapp Rebekka: 07809736493 Semsem: 07711198594.

·      Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (http://www.sdcas.org.uk/) - day centres are closed indefinitely but you can call the office on 02077320505.

·      Waltham Forest Migrant Action (https://wfma.org.uk) – drop-in and in-person support has been suspended, but it is still possible to access resources remotely. If needed, send a text (don’t call) with your full name to 07496394175 and a volunteer will respond.

·      Women for Refugee Women (https://www.refugeewomen.co.uk/coronavirus/) - drop-in centre has closed but support is available at 02072501239

·      Notre Dame Refugee Centre (https://www.notredamerc.org.uk) the drop in centre is closed but they are taking on new clients  and appointments can still be booked for advice on 0207 440 2669

·      Haringey Migrant Support Centre (https://haringeymsc.org) drop in centre is closed but individuals who already have a file with them can: email advocacy@haringeymsc.org or call the catch-up line on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am-12pm: 07518459929

·      Hackney Migrant Centre (https://hackneymigrantcentre.org.uk) are running a remote immigration and housing advice service for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. This service will be run by phone. To book an appointment: Call 07961 014182 on Mondays, between 10am – 1pm. During the call you will book an appointment for an assessment later that week.

·      Happy Baby Community (Hackney and Thornton Heath) - (https://www.happybabycommunity.org.uk), hello@happybabycommunity.org.uk or call 07712647282

    West London Welcome - (https://westlondonwelcome.com), are running a weekly foodbank (Thursdays), food deliveries, hardship support, and virtual classes and casework support for local refugees and migrants in need.  They are currently only able to support existing members of the West London Welcome community at this time. For new referrals/ support requests, please email wlondoncentre@gmail.com or call 07512789542 and they will see if they can help.

A list of further local Migrant centres and advice lines can be found here - please call or check their websites to check if/ how they are operating currently:

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

The No Recourse to Public Funds Network (http://www.nrpfnetwork.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx) are posting up to date information regarding changes to NRPF rules in light of COVID-19.

As of 27 March, local councils are being asked to house all homeless individuals, including those with NRPF. If an individual with NRPF has lost employment or is self-employed they are also entitled to government support schemes that have been put in place as a COVID-19 Response.  

Please refer to the following fact sheet for a detailed outline of what is available.

http://www.nrpfnetwork.org.uk/Documents/coronavirus-factsheet.pdf 

Housing and Homelessness

Due to COVID-19, private Landlords  cannot evict tenants/ apply to start court proceedings for evictions without giving 90 days  notice (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak) . For advice on how to deal with landlords and a template for startign a conversation about rent, use the London Renters Union COVID-19 page: https://londonrentersunion.org/c19rentcrisis/ 

Homelessness:

As of 27 March, local councils are being asked to house all homeless individuals, including those with NRPF. www.housing-rights.info provides up to date information on migrant housing rights and options. Updates with covid19 relevant resources can be found here: https://www.housing-rights.info/coronavirus.php

Be aware that, as long as hostile environment policies are still being enforced, some homelessness charities may share data with the home office and therefore might not be ideal resources for some migrants. The following organisations are known to report to the home office and should be avoided: St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, StreetLink and Change, Grow, Live (CGL)

As far as we are aware the following organizations do not participate in data sharing:

 

·      Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. (https://www.refugeesathome.org)

·      Rooms for Refugees functions in a similar manner. Please check their website for updates in  the changes to their hosting policy in light of COVID-19 (https://www.roomforrefugees.com)

*Please  help us add to this list

Greater London Authority are planning to provide accomodation via converted hotel rooms, but it is unclear at the moment who will have access to this. We are being told that one route is to refer individuals through StreetLink (https://www.streetlink.org.uk) however they may have a practice of sharing data with the Home Office so this is not appropriate for migrants without secure immigration status. In this case a potential alternative route is through Glass Door (https://www.glassdoor.org.uk).  Ring Glass Door's main number (020 7351 4948) and ask to speak to a caseworker.

S4 Support

Destitute refused asylum seekers should now be able to apply for s4 support- even if they don’t have a claim ongoing- as they will be able to meet the category of being unable to leave the UK. See factsheet from ASAP here: http://www.asaproject.org/uploads/Factsheet_20_-_Covid-19_and_asylum_support.pdf 

You can refer any refused asylum seeker clients to Migrant Help (https://www.migranthelpuk.org) on their free asylum helpline 0808 8010 503; or Refugee Action (https://www.refugee-action.org.uk/project/asylum-crisis-project/) to apply for s4.

  • Cambridge House Law Centre (for housing advice only in Southwark)                    0207 358 7025

Food Banks

Food banks can be accessed regardless of someone’s migration status. Advice on accessing a food bank can be found at https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/emergency-food/.

Legal Information

Because of the Coronavirus crisis, there have been some temporary changes to the asylum and immigration process.

*Refugee Council have collated and are regularly updating a list of Changes to Home Office Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/changes-to-home-office-asylum-resettlement-policy-and-practice-in-response-to-covid-19/

Answers to many frequently asked questions can also be found at: https://righttoremain.org.uk/changes-to-the-asylum-process-due-to-covid-19/.

Right to Remain have also made this video to describe the changes: https://youtu.be/EOUanh6m3eg

Visa nationals who cannot return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa, currently until 31st May 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/visas-extended-for-those-currently-unable-to-return-home-due-to-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR02KbNxxt0fF_YwUXiFTx0PyROV2-YLP0LqB82ploXbumvBMSsdfDn2214

Up to date advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents?fbclid=IwAR1AwdFuIbPNZpWdAPP2UROvdblM9BJ0gXWDhigRwHh908p0eqPbh-QrtxE

Destitute refused asylum seekers should now be able to apply for s4 support - even if they don’t have a claim ongoing - as they will be able to meet the category of being unable to leave the UK. For more information:

http://www.asaproject.org/uploads/Factsheet_20_-_Covid-19_and_asylum_support.pdf 

Legal Advice

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has a telephone line where all migrants can access free initial legal advice and/or be directed to the right services. The helpline is on 020 7553 7470, and is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 1pm. The helpline is free and confidential.

Rights of Women is continuing to provide free and confidential legal advice by telephone on immigration, family, criminal, sexual harassment and EU settlement schemes applications to vulnerable migrant women and individuals supporting vulnerable women.  For further information on how to access advice and specific information please go to our website www.rightsofwomen.org.uk or telephone on 0207 251 6575 on weekdays, between the hours of 10am to 4pm.’

Migrant Legal Action (for immigration advice only – 2-4pm):  0203 150 1470

Southwark Law Centre will take referrals from other agencies - for example, advice centres, councillors, social workers and community groups. To make a referral or discuss a case ring 0207 732 2008 (Telephone hours: 9.30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5.30 pm).

UKLGIG offer legal advice and support services to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and those thinking about claiming asylum: visit https://uklgig.org.uk 

Contact 020 7922 7811 or admin@uklgig.org.uk

Other Advice Services

Notre Dame Refugee Centre offer free immigration advice to individual migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on Fridays between 10.30 – 13.30. Contact number: 0207 440 2669 (they are taking on new clients)

Citizens Advice offer a web chat service on benefits, debt, housing, employment, immigration, consumer, family, discrimination and health: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/web-chat-service 

In Southwark

Citizens Advice Southwark Adviceline                                                0344 499 4134

Citizens Advice Southwark Universal Credit Help to Claim service    0800 144 8444

Online information on benefits, debt, housing, employment, immigration, consumer, family, discrimination and health, can be accessed through the Southwark Legal Advice Network website - http://www.southwarkadvice.org.uk/online-advice/ 

Local Mutual Aid Groups

Visit https://covidmutualaid.org/ and check if your area has a mutual aid group. Many volunteers across the country are available to help with medication and food deliveries and other essentials.

Add NHS

Open Letters with Demands

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) have written this open letter demanding a suspension of the hostile environment and NRPF: https://www.jcwi.org.uk/protecting-migrants-from-covid-19

The Public Interest Law Centre and Project17 have written this open letter to local councils to demand adequate resources and protections for all migrants, including those with NRPF: https://migrantsrights.org.uk/blog/2020/03/20/covid-19localauthorityletter/

 

 

Donation Requests

Any of the migrant centres and food banks listed above are probably in need of donations. Please visit their websites for more info. The following organizations have specifically reached out with emergency appeals:

 

https://hackneymigrantcentre.org.uk/covid-19-emergency-fund/

Volunteer Requests

  • [Sorted] South London Refugee Association are looking for support volunteers to call people who may be particularly vulnerable and isolated, to check in with them, have a chat and make sure they're okay. Please message group member So Phee Bee 
  • The specialist support team at Refugee Support Network is asking for postcards/letters of solidarity and friendship which they will pass on. All the details are here: www.refugeesupportnetwork.org/sendingsolidarity 

 

Translation/Language Resources

 

Education Resources

 RefuNet provides online 1-1 volunteer teachers for refugees and asylum seekers - either English for adults or help with schoolwork for kids. https://www.refunet.co.uk 

 

Individual Offers

Some individuals have made offers that we are not including on this document for safeguarding reasons. However, page admins have a list of these offers and will help signpost as appropriate.

  • Amanda is able to offer free art lessons/ art therapy online to children of migrants and asylum seekers. They speak beginners level Levantine Arabic and have been running workshops like these in Palestine since 2015 and specialise in working with learners who have experienced/ are experiencing trauma. They can also find ways to get free art materials to children and young people across London through mutual aid networks. Please message M Amanda Millis who is a member of the Mutual Aid group.