Covid 19 Responses and Info
Multi language info - Doctors of the World
Protecting migrants from Covid-19
23/3/20 - JCWI, Liberty, and Medact submitted an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill (tabled by Kate Green MP) that would end all NHS charging, institute a firewall to prevent data sharing, and commit the Government to a public information campaign to advise people of their right to access healthcare. You can read the briefing here.
Mutual Aid - Migrants Organise, JCWI, Docs Not Cops, and Medact have produced a range of useful resources aimed at mutual aid groups to ensure that people are aware of the issues facing undocumented migrants and can provide support in a safe and helpful way. We’ve produced:
· Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK: Guide for Supporting Migrants During Coronavirus - this guide covers NHS entitlement, reporting conditions, supporting precarious workers, among other things. It’s hosted on the Covid Mutual Aid site, but there is also a live and updated version at here.
· NHS COVID info cards - these are social media and printable resources that give people clear and succinct information about their entitlement to care. You can download them here.
Suspend Reporting Conditions during COVID 19
On 17 March 2020, Migrants Organise – together with the Helen Bamber Foundation – have written to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, to urgently provide a clear confirmation that all immigration reporting conditions will be suspended given the Covid-19 pandemic. Many asylum seekers have been sent texts not to go to report, but organisations are asking for official confirmation.
Full letter here.
Letter to Home Secretary on immigration detention
A group of 10 organisations have written to the Home Secretary raising concerns about the risk of an outbreak in an immigration detention and calls for the release of all immigration detainees. The letter notes that, “Detention can only be justified where there is a prospect of imminent removal and as borders close around the globe and strict travel restrictions are implemented, the removal system is going to become much harder to operate, making increased numbers of removals and detentions unlawful.” You can read the full letter here and coverage in the Guardian here.
NACCOM guidance for hosting projects
NACCOM have published guidance for hosting projects on how to best protect residents from the coronavirus. This includes guidance for shared house projects, housing projects (including guidance from Refugees at Home), night shelters (including guidance by Housing Justice).
MHCLG and Public Health England have also produced guidance for Covid-19 and hostel or day centre providers of services for people experiencing rough sleeping, which is available here.
Asylum Support Appeals Project
Have done a Factsheet
It is extremely likely to be out of date very shortly, at least in some respects. Please note that ASAP and others in the sector are pushing for the assessment process for asylum support to be suspended, and for everyone who needs it to be supported. But this has not happened yet. Hence this Factsheet. (23/3/20)
We’re also working to get a parliamentary question in and would like to ask you to send a copy of the letter to your local MP. Sharing local stories of how people are being effected will make the letter stronger. For example, we know that people are still being given notice to leave asylum accommodation.
Local authority work
Other groups and organisations are working hard to get NRPF conditions lifted at local and national levels by lobbying local authorities and working to get questions through local MPs. PILC, Project 17 and Migrants Rights Network have prepared a letter that they are emailing all England local authorities.
COVID-19: Capitalism’s Mask Has Slipped
The world is seeing unprecedented challenges and rapid changes. IWRAW Asia Pacific's new blog post looks at the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on women and marginalised groups, and its exposure of an unjust system which has greatly exacerbated the health risks.
Read more here.
The Government & Home Office
The government have started producing translated Covid-19 guidance. Currently available in: Arabic, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish and Welsh
The links are here:
Pause in face to face substantive asylum interviews - COVID-19 update from UKVI
Many of our applicants travel a long way to have a substantive asylum interview, which can be a lengthy interaction taking several hours. On that basis, we have decided to pause face to face substantive asylum interviews for now. That means we will be cancelling any that are scheduled from 19th March and will not be scheduling any new face to face interviews for now.
In the meantime, we are exploring other ways to find the information we need to make our decisions; digitally, by telephone and by post/ email, for example.
Voluntary Returns Service
We are currently receiving a high level of interest in the services we offer, and we continue to work with people to try and fulfil their requests to leave the UK.
However we are currently experiencing difficulties that mean that we cannot currently support assisted returns for people who require a level of assistance upon return from the United Kingdom. We are experiencing infrastructure and other issues that make it difficult to impossible to offer that level of support at this time.
We have therefore made a very difficult decision to cease offering assisted returns at this time.
Please help us by encouraging people to get in touch by phone (0300 004 0202), and to register their interest via the electronic portal on gov.uk.
Seven Trent Water
Many of you will be worried by the potential effects on the broader economy and how that might impact you personally.
If you do find yourself struggling financially we already have a number of financial support schemes that can help you. These include schemes which help you spread your payments as well as providing a discount for those in the most difficult circumstances.
The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service
(0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of loan sharks.