Covid-19 guidance

UPDATED NHS Coronavirus information translated by Doctors of the World in partnership with the British Red Cross

Further to recent changes in the Government and NHS official guidance on COVID-19, Doctors of the World UK have been updating its translated guidance in 60 languages. The updated version includes changes in social distancing rules and the new symptom of coronavirus. Please note the guidance is valid across the UK.

You can find these resources on https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

Please check the list of languages on the website to see if the language has been updated, but all languages will be ready in a couple of days. Audio/video recordings and animated messages for migrants in different languages will be ready soon.

 

Public Health England has translated the message that COVID-19 testing and treatment is free of charge, irrespective of immigration status in 40 languages (including English)

Please visit the PHE Migrant Health Guide https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide#main-messages under sub-heading ‘Translated advice and guidance for the public’ to access the full set of languages. These translations are based on the simplified message in English available on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/visiting-or-moving-to-england/visitors-from-outside-the-european-economic-area-eea/

 

COVID-19 Infographics

A group of doctors, medical students and volunteers have created infographics to help summarise key points about COVID-19 in a variety of languages to get the right information, in an easy to understand format, to these communities.

https://covid19graphics.info/

 

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, traditional Chinese- Cantonese, simplified Chinese - Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

 

COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, traditional Chinese- Cantonese, simplified Chinese - Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

 

At Risk Patient letters

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, , French, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/guidance-and-updates-for-gps-at-risk-patients/

 

COVID-19 guides collated by Doncaster Council

https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/health-wellbeing/coronavirus-easy-read-guides-and-other-language-guides

 

Coronavirus information videos from Leeds County Council

In Bengali, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Urdu, Slovak, Punjabi, Tigrinya, Farsi, Kurdish Sorani, Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi and Bengali.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLggQFjpTLgpIq0r7-nFO9mT6j8Yk2vKBt 

Webinar on COVID-19 and ethnicity

A Public Health England Review on the impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, led by Professor Kevin Fenton, will explore the data which points to people from BAME backgrounds being disproportionately affected by the outbreak. Next week, Professor Fenton will join the LGA in a webinar on COVID-19 and ethnicity to talk about the review outcomes and discuss the important role of local government in mitigating the disproportionate risks posed by the pandemic to our BAME communities. The webinar, free to councils and Government departments, takes place on Tuesday 2 June at 9.30 – 11.00am and you can sign up on the LGA website.

 

Engaging Migrant Communities in the Context of Covid-19: Lessons from the Field

The International Organization for Migration - UN Migration would like to invite you to attend their 90-minute webinar in which they explore the importance of migrant community engagement, as learned in previous pandemic responses. This will include information on successful methodologies for engaging migrant communities during a pandemic, case studies detailing how culture informs pandemic responses, and further resources to help support the success of local COVID-19 response measures.

Please follow the link below to all upcoming webinar dates, which will be updated on a regular basis as IOM continue schedule more. Current dates are as follows:

10 June 2020 at 2:00pm, 18 June 2020 at 3:00pm, 23  June 2020 at 2:00pm, 30 June 2020 at 3:00pm

To book follow this link: https://iomint-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/g/personal/mradke_iom_int/EbDEQh9_W6NNi1JihSWHWxMBc3JGZ5Q3DoqqQ-vZFy-O8Q?e=dbYXvd

NHS entitlements: migrant health guide

There can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All overseas visitors, including anyone living in the UK without permission, should be aware that:

  • No charges apply to testing for COVID-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for COVID-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.
  • NHS trusts have been advised that no immigration checks are required for overseas visitors that are known to be only undergoing testing or treatment for COVID-19.

For further information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide

Asylum Support Applications

Asylum support applications are still being processed. Anyone with an urgent need for accommodation can apply for section 98IA accommodation directly via Migrant Help. We are not currently requiring people to leave asylum accommodation when their claim or appeal has been finally decided. This means that at present those whose claims or appeals have been rejected will remain in asylum accommodation and those who are granted refugee status will also be able to remain in their current accommodation. This will be reviewed ahead of the end of June 2020.

 

Regional Asylum Intake Units

Regional Asylum Intake Units have been set up to assist those seeking asylum in accessing the services they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. See below for details

 

Asylum support discontinuations

The Home Office will pause evictions of asylum seekers accommodated under section 95 or section 4 until 30 June 2020. Those who have received a positive decision on their asylum claim will not be required to leave their asylum accommodation unless they wish to do so. Those who have received negative decision will be able to remain in their asylum accommodation for the next 3 months. The Home Office will review these measures at the end of June 2020.

 

Further submissions

The Further Submissions Unit in Liverpool has temporarily suspended the requirement for asylum seekers to hand in their further submissions in person. Further submissions should now be sent via email or post to: FSU The Capital Building, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9PP E-mail address: [email protected]

 

Reporting

Reporting appointments across the UK have been temporarily suspended. We will be looking at alternative ways to maintain contact with those who report over this period.

 

Substantive Asylum Interviews

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 19 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. We can already interview people digitally from our offices or onsite in other location in some circumstances and are looking for support from digital colleagues to do that in a different way that doesn’t involve us being in one of our offices. On that basis, we hope – availability of staff and applicants allowing – to be conducting those substantive asylum interviews again soon. I will keep you updated on any progress we make on that.

We are making every effort to keep the system moving, as we also seek to protect applicants and our staff. Please be assured that we are continuing to make as many decisions as we can where there is enough information to make a decision.

 

Suspension of the UK Resettlement Programme 

The UK Resettlement Programme has temporarily been suspended. For more information, you can find the announcement by the UNHCR and IOM here.

 

Community Sponsorship

Whilst new arrivals on the UKRS has been temporarily halted, RESET, the organisation supporting Community Sponsorship organisations continue to take in applications from Groups, they have also created a Covid-19 page  with guidance of how to support families already here covid-19-guidance and virtual drop in sessions for people interested in learning more about Community Sponsorship or how to make an application.

DfE Advice for care leavers during and after Covid-19 and UASC factsheet

This advice published by the Department for Education forms part of a pack of advice for care leavers during and after COVID-19.  Although the pack refers to advice for care leavers, the UASC factsheet is relevant to young people who are currently looked after, as well as to care leavers.  The UASC factsheet starts on page 20

https://indd.adobe.com/view/75e4fb6d-61c2-44f4-98a8-f4c523fa3672

 

Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

This guidance applies to staff working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings in England, the children, young people and learners who attend these settings and their parents or carers.  It explains the strategy for infection prevention and control, including the specific circumstances PPE should be used, and thus work safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

 

DfE Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social care

This guidance is for local authorities, those who have corporate parenting responsibilities, and local safeguarding partnerships who work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. It will also be of interest to social workers, residential care providers and staff, and those with safeguarding responsibilities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care

 

Funding for local authorities to support vulnerable groups

This funding announcement includes a pledge of £1.6 billion that will go to local authorities to help them respond to other coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. Although it mainly references adult social services, this funding is also intended to meet the cost of extra demand and higher business as usual costs of providing children's social care - including as a result of school closures, to meet the costs of placements and to address the need for isolation, including for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Local authority CEOs and chief finance officers will have received a letter setting this out and providing more detail.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-9-billion-funding-to-strengthen-care-for-the-vulnerable

 

DfE and PHE guidance on isolation for different settings, including children’s homes

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings

 

PHE guidance on COVID-19 for residential settings

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-residential-care-provision

 

Laptops, wi-fi and education for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people

The government have announced that vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across the country will receive free laptops. This includes children who receive support from a social worker and care leavers. Care leavers will also be provided with 4G routers to access the internet if they do not already have access to the internet in their home. The laptops will remain with the schools and colleges once children and young people are back in school.  This will apply to unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people, and other children receiving the support of a social worker

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-major-package-to-support-online-learning

 

Online education resources for children and young people

The Oak National Academy has been launched for pupils up to year 10. It will provide 180 video lessons a week across a range of subjects.

https://www.thenational.academy/

The BBC has also launched an online and TV education service for children and young people.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

Free school meals for NRPF children

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that it is temporarily extending free school meal eligibility during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), including children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and; children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction. Full details are available in the DfE’s updated guidance. The guidance includes further information on how the extension to eligibility is being applied; and more detailed operational guidance for schools, including a sample application and self-declaration that can be used to support free school meal applications from these families.

 

Current entitlements

Temporary migrants with NRPF are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. It’s also worth remembering that “New Style” Jobseekers Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay, and “New Style” Employment Support Allowance do not count as public funds.

People who are facing extreme hardship and who have been granted leave to remain on family/private life grounds might be eligible to have their NRPF condition removed.

 

Voluntary Returns Service

The Voluntary Returns Service is still operating and the team continues to assess applications. Although the majority of airlines have grounded their planes there are still some flights operating. Those who are interested in taking a voluntary return should continue to register online or complete the application form. However, assisted returns have been suspended until further notice as we are experiencing infrastructure and other issues that make it difficult to impossible to offer that level of support at this time. The VRS International and Reintegration team continues to work with in-country reintegration service providers to implement reintegration for those who have already returned. The team are in the process of finalising in-country contingency plans to ensure returnees can continue to receive support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

NRPF Network resources and fact sheets:

EU Settlement Scheme update - 27 May 2020

Home Office support services and application routes have now all fully reopened in line with public health guidance. This includes the reopening of the postal route for submitting identity documents for applicants who are unable to use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify their identity.

The EU Settlement Resolution Centre continues to provide support 7 days a week by email and telephone, in line with public health guidance to work from home where possible.

Please click here to view a video that explains the support available for applicants. 

 

Further support available 

There continues to be a range of support available online, by email and telephone for those who have questions or need help applying.

Applicants can use the EU Exit ID Document check app to complete the identity stage of their application.

There are 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK which can offer assistance online, over the telephone or by email to help more vulnerable or at-risk people to apply. Please check with the individual organisations for further details.

Additional support is available for those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through Assisted Digital, which can offer assistance over the telephone.

Communications materials have been translated into 26 languages and alternative formats can also be requested.

The ID document scanner locations are currently suspended following the latest public health guidance to protect staff. However, the Home Office and their delivery partners are keeping this situation under constant review and will endeavour to reinstate ID document scanner locations to their original capacity in line with public health guidance.

 

Immigration rules changes

On 14 May 2020 updates to the Immigration Rules were laid in Parliament, which includes changes to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The rule changes will widen access to the scheme to victims of domestic violence or abuse. If a family member’s relationship with an EEA citizen breaks down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse, this, coupled with their own continuous residence in the UK, will be recognised as part of their application.

This is consistent with the Government’s wider commitment to tackling domestic violence and abuse as well as protecting and supporting victims of it.

The rule changes also mean that a family member applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or for an EUSS family permit may also be required to provide a certified English translation of (or a Multilingual Standard Form to accompany) a document as evidence of the relevant family relationship.

In addition, the rule changes mean that family members of British or dual British-Irish citizens who are people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

This delivers on the commitment the UK Government made in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement in January 2020 which restored the power sharing executive in Northern Ireland.

 

EU Settlement Scheme: looked-after children and care leavers guidance

Guidance for local authorities and health and social care trusts to make sure looked-after children and care leavers apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-looked-after-children-and-care-leavers-guidance

 

Letter from Roma Support Group to council leaders 

This letter addresses the concerns of the Roma communities in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.  See Roma Support Group letter for further details.

 

Video on coronavirus for schools

The City Council of Vienna and a Roma charity in Berlin developed this video on Coronavirus for schools (with English subtitles).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c23zbOAOAsQ&t=2s

 

Roma Support Group materials

Videos in Romanian Romanes dialect, Slovak Romanes dialect, Romanian & Slovak explaining social distancing & government advice to stay at home & when it's permitted to go out.

https://www.romasupportgroup.org.uk/resources-for-the-roma-community.html

Support for modern slavery victims affected by coronavirus

Individuals supported through the modern slavery victim care contract will be allowed to stay in government-funded safe accommodation for the next three months, as the government steps up measures to protect the vulnerable from coronavirus.

Through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) individuals are able to access support including accommodation for at least 45 days if found to be potential victims.

Where they would ordinarily be assisted to move on from their accommodation, this temporary change will ensure that these individuals remain safely in accommodation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-modern-slavery

 

Current GLAA Position re Covid 19

 

Signs of exploitation

Although many people are now working at home or not able to work, there remain many hundreds of thousands of workers active in sectors where we know exploitation takes place. We urge all our partners to continue being vigilant in looking out for the signs of forced and compulsory labour in the workplace and to take steps to prevent workers being at risk of exploitation. You can learn more about how to spot those signs here

 

GLAA’s preparedness

At the GLAA, we remain very much open for business. We will not hesitate to use our full range of powers to ensure businesses remain compliant and those criminals exploiting workers are pursued and brought to justice. Despite the lockdown we continue to conduct investigations and inspections in order that workers are protected.

 

Potential for exploitation to increase in some sectors

The current crisis is likely to see labour shortages and additional pressures on suppliers to meet demand. The GLAA believes this will create opportunities for unscrupulous people to exploit workers. There is no excuse for that, and we are ready to respond. We will not hesitate to use the powers given to investigate and prosecute those found doing so.

 

Helping business through the crisis

We recognise the additional challenges facing many businesses at this time. That’s why we have already made changes and will continue to do so in response to the national situation. Specifically for the sectors we regulate, we have introduced a temporary licensing scheme to aid legitimate businesses provide additional workers into the food supply sectors which are facing significant shortages. Read more here

 

Seasonal workers

We understand the pressures that will be faced by farmers and growers in picking and gathering crops, during the current health crisis and beyond. We further understand that as the crisis subsides there will be uncertainty as to the availability of foreign workers, under the Government’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, because of the current difficulties around travel and the booking of future travel. These things together have the potential to cause serious staff shortages in the agricultural and horticultural sectors, that could cause labour exploitation to take place. We will be alive to this possibility but available to give advice where appropriate.

 

Report concerns

We want to hear from our partners about the challenges they might be facing in remaining compliant and preventing labour exploitation. That will help us to direct our response and inform our wider government partners about emerging risks. We are speaking with our stakeholders regularly to seek their views. So if any themes or continuing issues develop during your conversations with stakeholders, please feed these back to [email protected] However, immediate concerns about exploitation, should be reported as usual by emailing [email protected], visit our website at www.gla.gov.uk or call 0800 432 0804 so we can take action.

From a personal point of view, and although yes we are open for business the countrywide shortage of appropriate PPE has affected us as well. Putting it simply we have no supplied PPE and will try to scratch around to see what we can find on an individual basis. This, of course, could influence the response we are able to provide and will have to triage each job on an individual basis.

Intelligence, however, is still a commodity we can use safely so please ensure, where appropriate, this is shared to enable us to work together to combat modern slavery.

Home Secretary announces visa extensions for frontline health and care workers

Free visa extensions will be automatically granted to more crucial overseas health and care workers, the Home Secretary has announced today.

Frontline workers, including midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will receive an automatic one-year extension. It will apply to those working both in the NHS and independent sector and include their family members.

This builds on the Home Secretary’s announcement in March for NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics. All will be exempt for the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of the exemption.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

This is advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

 

Visa extensions

Any individuals currently in the UK whose leave expires between 24 January and 31 July 2020 will have their visas extended to 31 July 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). they will need to apply for an extension of their leave by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team.

https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=199&id2=5C97E7

Until 31 July 2020, if an individual wishes to remain in the UK long term they can apply from within the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa This includes applications where they would usually be required to apply for a visa from their home country. They will still need to meet the requirements of the route they are applying for and pay the UK application fee.

 

Application and Service Centres in the UK

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020. You can check which UKVCAS centres are open.

Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Right to Work checks

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. The adjustments mean that until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete checks over video calls. After the COVID 19 measures end employers will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who started working or required a follow-up right to work check during these measures.

 

Right to Rent checks

Right to rent checks have also been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for landlords to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. The adjustments mean that until further notice, landlords do not need to see original documents and can complete checks over video calls. After the COVID 19 measures end landlords will be required to carry out retrospective checks on tenants who either started their tenancy or required a follow-up check during this period.

UPDATED NHS Coronavirus information translated by Doctors of the World in partnership with the British Red Cross

Further to recent changes in the Government and NHS official guidance on COVID-19, Doctors of the World UK have been updating its translated guidance in 60 languages. The updated version includes changes in social distancing rules and the new symptom of coronavirus. Please note the guidance is valid across the UK.

You can find these resources on https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

Please check the list of languages on the website to see if the language has been updated, but all languages will be ready in a couple of days. Audio/video recordings and animated messages for migrants in different languages will be ready soon.

 

Public Health England has translated the message that COVID-19 testing and treatment is free of charge, irrespective of immigration status in 40 languages (including English)

Please visit the PHE Migrant Health Guide https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide#main-messages under sub-heading ‘Translated advice and guidance for the public’ to access the full set of languages. These translations are based on the simplified message in English available on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/visiting-or-moving-to-england/visitors-from-outside-the-european-economic-area-eea/

 

COVID-19 Infographics

A group of doctors, medical students and volunteers have created infographics to help summarise key points about COVID-19 in a variety of languages to get the right information, in an easy to understand format, to these communities.

https://covid19graphics.info/

 

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, traditional Chinese- Cantonese, simplified Chinese - Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

 

COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, traditional Chinese- Cantonese, simplified Chinese - Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

 

At Risk Patient letters

Translated into Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, , French, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/guidance-and-updates-for-gps-at-risk-patients/

 

COVID-19 guides collated by Doncaster Council

https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/health-wellbeing/coronavirus-easy-read-guides-and-other-language-guides

 

Coronavirus information videos from Leeds County Council

In Bengali, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Urdu, Slovak, Punjabi, Tigrinya, Farsi, Kurdish Sorani, Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi and Bengali.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLggQFjpTLgpIq0r7-nFO9mT6j8Yk2vKBt 

Webinar on COVID-19 and ethnicity

A Public Health England Review on the impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, led by Professor Kevin Fenton, will explore the data which points to people from BAME backgrounds being disproportionately affected by the outbreak. Next week, Professor Fenton will join the LGA in a webinar on COVID-19 and ethnicity to talk about the review outcomes and discuss the important role of local government in mitigating the disproportionate risks posed by the pandemic to our BAME communities. The webinar, free to councils and Government departments, takes place on Tuesday 2 June at 9.30 – 11.00am and you can sign up on the LGA website.

 

Engaging Migrant Communities in the Context of Covid-19: Lessons from the Field

The International Organization for Migration - UN Migration would like to invite you to attend their 90-minute webinar in which they explore the importance of migrant community engagement, as learned in previous pandemic responses. This will include information on successful methodologies for engaging migrant communities during a pandemic, case studies detailing how culture informs pandemic responses, and further resources to help support the success of local COVID-19 response measures.

Please follow the link below to all upcoming webinar dates, which will be updated on a regular basis as IOM continue schedule more. Current dates are as follows:

10 June 2020 at 2:00pm, 18 June 2020 at 3:00pm, 23  June 2020 at 2:00pm, 30 June 2020 at 3:00pm

To book follow this link: https://iomint-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/g/personal/mradke_iom_int/EbDEQh9_W6NNi1JihSWHWxMBc3JGZ5Q3DoqqQ-vZFy-O8Q?e=dbYXvd

NHS entitlements: migrant health guide

There can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All overseas visitors, including anyone living in the UK without permission, should be aware that:

  • No charges apply to testing for COVID-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for COVID-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.
  • NHS trusts have been advised that no immigration checks are required for overseas visitors that are known to be only undergoing testing or treatment for COVID-19.

For further information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide

Asylum Support Applications

Asylum support applications are still being processed. Anyone with an urgent need for accommodation can apply for section 98IA accommodation directly via Migrant Help. We are not currently requiring people to leave asylum accommodation when their claim or appeal has been finally decided. This means that at present those whose claims or appeals have been rejected will remain in asylum accommodation and those who are granted refugee status will also be able to remain in their current accommodation. This will be reviewed ahead of the end of June 2020.

 

Regional Asylum Intake Units

Regional Asylum Intake Units have been set up to assist those seeking asylum in accessing the services they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. See below for details

 

Asylum support discontinuations

The Home Office will pause evictions of asylum seekers accommodated under section 95 or section 4 until 30 June 2020. Those who have received a positive decision on their asylum claim will not be required to leave their asylum accommodation unless they wish to do so. Those who have received negative decision will be able to remain in their asylum accommodation for the next 3 months. The Home Office will review these measures at the end of June 2020.

 

Further submissions

The Further Submissions Unit in Liverpool has temporarily suspended the requirement for asylum seekers to hand in their further submissions in person. Further submissions should now be sent via email or post to: FSU The Capital Building, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9PP E-mail address: [email protected]

 

Reporting

Reporting appointments across the UK have been temporarily suspended. We will be looking at alternative ways to maintain contact with those who report over this period.

 

Substantive Asylum Interviews

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 19 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. We can already interview people digitally from our offices or onsite in other location in some circumstances and are looking for support from digital colleagues to do that in a different way that doesn’t involve us being in one of our offices. On that basis, we hope – availability of staff and applicants allowing – to be conducting those substantive asylum interviews again soon. I will keep you updated on any progress we make on that.

We are making every effort to keep the system moving, as we also seek to protect applicants and our staff. Please be assured that we are continuing to make as many decisions as we can where there is enough information to make a decision.

 

Suspension of the UK Resettlement Programme 

The UK Resettlement Programme has temporarily been suspended. For more information, you can find the announcement by the UNHCR and IOM here.

 

Community Sponsorship

Whilst new arrivals on the UKRS has been temporarily halted, RESET, the organisation supporting Community Sponsorship organisations continue to take in applications from Groups, they have also created a Covid-19 page  with guidance of how to support families already here covid-19-guidance and virtual drop in sessions for people interested in learning more about Community Sponsorship or how to make an application.

DfE Advice for care leavers during and after Covid-19 and UASC factsheet

This advice published by the Department for Education forms part of a pack of advice for care leavers during and after COVID-19.  Although the pack refers to advice for care leavers, the UASC factsheet is relevant to young people who are currently looked after, as well as to care leavers.  The UASC factsheet starts on page 20

https://indd.adobe.com/view/75e4fb6d-61c2-44f4-98a8-f4c523fa3672

 

Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

This guidance applies to staff working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings in England, the children, young people and learners who attend these settings and their parents or carers.  It explains the strategy for infection prevention and control, including the specific circumstances PPE should be used, and thus work safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

 

DfE Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social care

This guidance is for local authorities, those who have corporate parenting responsibilities, and local safeguarding partnerships who work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. It will also be of interest to social workers, residential care providers and staff, and those with safeguarding responsibilities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care

 

Funding for local authorities to support vulnerable groups

This funding announcement includes a pledge of £1.6 billion that will go to local authorities to help them respond to other coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. Although it mainly references adult social services, this funding is also intended to meet the cost of extra demand and higher business as usual costs of providing children's social care - including as a result of school closures, to meet the costs of placements and to address the need for isolation, including for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Local authority CEOs and chief finance officers will have received a letter setting this out and providing more detail.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-9-billion-funding-to-strengthen-care-for-the-vulnerable

 

DfE and PHE guidance on isolation for different settings, including children’s homes

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings

 

PHE guidance on COVID-19 for residential settings

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-residential-care-provision

 

Laptops, wi-fi and education for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people

The government have announced that vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across the country will receive free laptops. This includes children who receive support from a social worker and care leavers. Care leavers will also be provided with 4G routers to access the internet if they do not already have access to the internet in their home. The laptops will remain with the schools and colleges once children and young people are back in school.  This will apply to unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people, and other children receiving the support of a social worker

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-major-package-to-support-online-learning

 

Online education resources for children and young people

The Oak National Academy has been launched for pupils up to year 10. It will provide 180 video lessons a week across a range of subjects.

https://www.thenational.academy/

The BBC has also launched an online and TV education service for children and young people.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

Free school meals for NRPF children

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that it is temporarily extending free school meal eligibility during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), including children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and; children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction. Full details are available in the DfE’s updated guidance. The guidance includes further information on how the extension to eligibility is being applied; and more detailed operational guidance for schools, including a sample application and self-declaration that can be used to support free school meal applications from these families.

 

Current entitlements

Temporary migrants with NRPF are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. It’s also worth remembering that “New Style” Jobseekers Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay, and “New Style” Employment Support Allowance do not count as public funds.

People who are facing extreme hardship and who have been granted leave to remain on family/private life grounds might be eligible to have their NRPF condition removed.

 

Voluntary Returns Service

The Voluntary Returns Service is still operating and the team continues to assess applications. Although the majority of airlines have grounded their planes there are still some flights operating. Those who are interested in taking a voluntary return should continue to register online or complete the application form. However, assisted returns have been suspended until further notice as we are experiencing infrastructure and other issues that make it difficult to impossible to offer that level of support at this time. The VRS International and Reintegration team continues to work with in-country reintegration service providers to implement reintegration for those who have already returned. The team are in the process of finalising in-country contingency plans to ensure returnees can continue to receive support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

NRPF Network resources and fact sheets:

EU Settlement Scheme update - 27 May 2020

Home Office support services and application routes have now all fully reopened in line with public health guidance. This includes the reopening of the postal route for submitting identity documents for applicants who are unable to use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify their identity.

The EU Settlement Resolution Centre continues to provide support 7 days a week by email and telephone, in line with public health guidance to work from home where possible.

Please click here to view a video that explains the support available for applicants. 

 

Further support available 

There continues to be a range of support available online, by email and telephone for those who have questions or need help applying.

Applicants can use the EU Exit ID Document check app to complete the identity stage of their application.

There are 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK which can offer assistance online, over the telephone or by email to help more vulnerable or at-risk people to apply. Please check with the individual organisations for further details.

Additional support is available for those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through Assisted Digital, which can offer assistance over the telephone.

Communications materials have been translated into 26 languages and alternative formats can also be requested.

The ID document scanner locations are currently suspended following the latest public health guidance to protect staff. However, the Home Office and their delivery partners are keeping this situation under constant review and will endeavour to reinstate ID document scanner locations to their original capacity in line with public health guidance.

 

Immigration rules changes

On 14 May 2020 updates to the Immigration Rules were laid in Parliament, which includes changes to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The rule changes will widen access to the scheme to victims of domestic violence or abuse. If a family member’s relationship with an EEA citizen breaks down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse, this, coupled with their own continuous residence in the UK, will be recognised as part of their application.

This is consistent with the Government’s wider commitment to tackling domestic violence and abuse as well as protecting and supporting victims of it.

The rule changes also mean that a family member applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or for an EUSS family permit may also be required to provide a certified English translation of (or a Multilingual Standard Form to accompany) a document as evidence of the relevant family relationship.

In addition, the rule changes mean that family members of British or dual British-Irish citizens who are people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

This delivers on the commitment the UK Government made in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement in January 2020 which restored the power sharing executive in Northern Ireland.

 

EU Settlement Scheme: looked-after children and care leavers guidance

Guidance for local authorities and health and social care trusts to make sure looked-after children and care leavers apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-looked-after-children-and-care-leavers-guidance

 

Letter from Roma Support Group to council leaders 

This letter addresses the concerns of the Roma communities in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.  See Roma Support Group letter for further details.

 

Video on coronavirus for schools

The City Council of Vienna and a Roma charity in Berlin developed this video on Coronavirus for schools (with English subtitles).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c23zbOAOAsQ&t=2s

 

Roma Support Group materials

Videos in Romanian Romanes dialect, Slovak Romanes dialect, Romanian & Slovak explaining social distancing & government advice to stay at home & when it's permitted to go out.

https://www.romasupportgroup.org.uk/resources-for-the-roma-community.html

Support for modern slavery victims affected by coronavirus

Individuals supported through the modern slavery victim care contract will be allowed to stay in government-funded safe accommodation for the next three months, as the government steps up measures to protect the vulnerable from coronavirus.

Through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) individuals are able to access support including accommodation for at least 45 days if found to be potential victims.

Where they would ordinarily be assisted to move on from their accommodation, this temporary change will ensure that these individuals remain safely in accommodation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-modern-slavery

 

Current GLAA Position re Covid 19

 

Signs of exploitation

Although many people are now working at home or not able to work, there remain many hundreds of thousands of workers active in sectors where we know exploitation takes place. We urge all our partners to continue being vigilant in looking out for the signs of forced and compulsory labour in the workplace and to take steps to prevent workers being at risk of exploitation. You can learn more about how to spot those signs here

 

GLAA’s preparedness

At the GLAA, we remain very much open for business. We will not hesitate to use our full range of powers to ensure businesses remain compliant and those criminals exploiting workers are pursued and brought to justice. Despite the lockdown we continue to conduct investigations and inspections in order that workers are protected.

 

Potential for exploitation to increase in some sectors

The current crisis is likely to see labour shortages and additional pressures on suppliers to meet demand. The GLAA believes this will create opportunities for unscrupulous people to exploit workers. There is no excuse for that, and we are ready to respond. We will not hesitate to use the powers given to investigate and prosecute those found doing so.

 

Helping business through the crisis

We recognise the additional challenges facing many businesses at this time. That’s why we have already made changes and will continue to do so in response to the national situation. Specifically for the sectors we regulate, we have introduced a temporary licensing scheme to aid legitimate businesses provide additional workers into the food supply sectors which are facing significant shortages. Read more here

 

Seasonal workers

We understand the pressures that will be faced by farmers and growers in picking and gathering crops, during the current health crisis and beyond. We further understand that as the crisis subsides there will be uncertainty as to the availability of foreign workers, under the Government’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, because of the current difficulties around travel and the booking of future travel. These things together have the potential to cause serious staff shortages in the agricultural and horticultural sectors, that could cause labour exploitation to take place. We will be alive to this possibility but available to give advice where appropriate.

 

Report concerns

We want to hear from our partners about the challenges they might be facing in remaining compliant and preventing labour exploitation. That will help us to direct our response and inform our wider government partners about emerging risks. We are speaking with our stakeholders regularly to seek their views. So if any themes or continuing issues develop during your conversations with stakeholders, please feed these back to [email protected] However, immediate concerns about exploitation, should be reported as usual by emailing [email protected], visit our website at www.gla.gov.uk or call 0800 432 0804 so we can take action.

From a personal point of view, and although yes we are open for business the countrywide shortage of appropriate PPE has affected us as well. Putting it simply we have no supplied PPE and will try to scratch around to see what we can find on an individual basis. This, of course, could influence the response we are able to provide and will have to triage each job on an individual basis.

Intelligence, however, is still a commodity we can use safely so please ensure, where appropriate, this is shared to enable us to work together to combat modern slavery.

Home Secretary announces visa extensions for frontline health and care workers

Free visa extensions will be automatically granted to more crucial overseas health and care workers, the Home Secretary has announced today.

Frontline workers, including midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will receive an automatic one-year extension. It will apply to those working both in the NHS and independent sector and include their family members.

This builds on the Home Secretary’s announcement in March for NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics. All will be exempt for the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of the exemption.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

This is advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

 

Visa extensions

Any individuals currently in the UK whose leave expires between 24 January and 31 July 2020 will have their visas extended to 31 July 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). they will need to apply for an extension of their leave by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team.

https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=199&id2=5C97E7

Until 31 July 2020, if an individual wishes to remain in the UK long term they can apply from within the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa This includes applications where they would usually be required to apply for a visa from their home country. They will still need to meet the requirements of the route they are applying for and pay the UK application fee.

 

Application and Service Centres in the UK

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020. You can check which UKVCAS centres are open.

Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Right to Work checks

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. The adjustments mean that until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete checks over video calls. After the COVID 19 measures end employers will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who started working or required a follow-up right to work check during these measures.

 

Right to Rent checks

Right to rent checks have also been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for landlords to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. The adjustments mean that until further notice, landlords do not need to see original documents and can complete checks over video calls. After the COVID 19 measures end landlords will be required to carry out retrospective checks on tenants who either started their tenancy or required a follow-up check during this period.