Covid-19 guidance

Vaccinations  

 A letter from NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England explains how people do not need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and reassures that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and available to every adult living in the UK, free of charge without any immigration checks. People can organise their vaccination by contacting their local GP practice or by going to a walk-in or pop-up vaccination centre. The letter will be available in other languages soon. This information has also been published in COVID-19: migrant health guide

The letter also advises that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions should be offered the COVID-19 vaccination.    Coronavirus Resources Centre translations.

 

HSE vaccination videos 

London doctors, nurses and other frontline staff came forward to record messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages – apart from English – in the capital to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach all Londoners

https://www.england.nhs.uk/london/our-work/covid-19-vaccine-communication-materials/

 

NHS materials on vaccinations in multiple languages

Please click on the relevant language listed in the left sidebar

https://www.healthpublications.gov.uk/ArticleSearch.html?sp=St-1305&sp=Sreset

 

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 

COVID-19: guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers

Following implementation of Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, most coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have now been lifted. This guidance has been updated to reflect these changes. COVID-19 has not gone away and everyone should continue to take precautions. See How to stay safe and help prevent the spread for more information.

The Home Office has a statutory requirement, under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to arrange accommodation for asylum seekers and their dependants who would otherwise be destitute.

This guidance is aimed at all staff involved in providing support to asylum seekers in all accommodation settings. This guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide. In the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.

COVID-19: guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Doctors of the World Covid-19 vaccine briefing

This briefing from Doctors of the World has some useful information and resource on outreach vaccine delivery for inclusion health groups, including vulnerable migrant populations.

COVID-19 Vaccine Briefing: Tailored outreach vaccination delivery services for socially excluded groups in the UK

 

Doctors of the World Covid-19 vaccine project

Doctors of the World UK (DOTW) has launched a Covid-19 vaccine advocacy project to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the vaccine, regardless of immigration status. As well as producing translated Covid-19 information resources, DOTW will play a proactive advocacy and coordination role in relation to the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme in the UK. The project, which will run for the next twelve months, aims is to ensure that the vaccine is equally available to everyone in the UK, regardless of immigration status.  

A key objective of the project is to provide migrant and other excluded communities (and the organisations that support these communities) with the information and resources needed to access the vaccine.

We will be producing a regular briefing on the vaccination policy and roll out plans. This week’s briefing focusses on access to mainstream vaccine services and the role of GP registration and NHS number. It applies to England only. Future briefings will include bespoke and outreach service delivery, vaccine hesitancy in marginalised communities and recommendations and will also cover policy and implementation in the devolved nations. If there are topics you would like the briefing to cover, please let us know.

We will continue to keep our translated coronavirus information resources (in 60+ languages) up to date and are building a translated health information hub on our website to make it easier to navigate the resources. From next week we will have translated information on the covid-19 vaccine (and the flu vaccine). Please share the link to the website with your service users. If you would like to receive updates when new resources become available please subscribe here.

 

Updated gov.uk guidance on border health measures (quarantine arrangements) from 22 January 2021

The gov.uk page has now been updated to reflect the new guidance around quarantine arrangements and the suspension of travel corridors which came into effect on 18 January 2021.

The updated guidance is here and the link to the information on the closure of travel corridors is here: travel corridors suspension.

 

Health measures at borders from 22 January 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

 

An Unsafe Distance: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Excluded People in England

A briefing on the Doctors of the World UK’s Rapid Needs Assessment of Excluded People in England during the COVID-19 pandemic

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/covid19-brief-rna-report.pdf 

 

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 interviews continue under lockdown - 5 November 2020

The Home Office have considered the risks associated with maintaining operations and have concluded that their temporary surge intake units and asylum interview operations will continue in all of the regions – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For further information see below.

Asylum Operations National Restrictions Update 05.11.2020

 

The resumption of substantive asylum interviews guidance - 6 August 2020

This guidance informs you of the planned process to resume substantive asylum interviews, mainly through video conferencing.

The resumption of substantive asylum interviews

 

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

 

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.

Digital safety during COVID-19 - Home Office guidance 

Please see the full text of the guidance here

 

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.

Update on Asylum Operations’ UASC interview plans, following the successful pilot with Kent County Council - 5 November 2020

In recent months, UKVI and Kent County Council (KCC), have worked collaboratively with the South East Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP) UASC coordinator to produce a blueprint to restart UASC/YP asylum interviews utilising video interviewing digital capability and remote facilities.

In order to expand the number of UASC/YP interviews, building upon the successful testing, the Home Office are now working with local authorities across the UK to roll out this process nationally. The Home Office have provided assurance that remote interviewing will be in addition to interviews on Home Office premises, not instead of.

 

DfE summary of the position for newly arriving UASC

This supplements the UASC section of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services.

Since 8 June, in line with requirements for all UK residents and visitors coming into the UK, UASC must provide their journey and contact details and must self-isolate for the first 14 days they’re in the UK, except in very limited situations.

From 10 July, travellers do not have to self-isolate if they are arriving from a country or territory on the travel corridors list. They still have to provide their journey and contact details.

In relation to newly arriving UASC, local authorities should make informed judgments on a case by case basis. If they are satisfied that a young person has only travelled from or through countries on the travel corridor list in the past 14 days, then they do not need to make arrangements for them to self-isolate. If the young person has travelled from or through any countries not on the travel corridor list in the past 14 days, then they are required to self-isolate. We appreciate it may not always be possible to determine where a young person has travelled from or through and in these circumstances self-isolation may still be required. Details on exemption rules and the position regarding transit stops are provided here.

As regards making provisions for isolation, local authorities should note that the regulations state that for a child, any person who has custody or charge of the child during the period of self-isolation must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the child self-isolates in accordance with this regulation (The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 s4(11)).

If a young person is symptomatic on or after arrival, arrangements should be made for them to self-isolate in line with guidance on isolation, regardless of where they have travelled from or through. The local authority should arrange for any symptomatic young person to have a test to check if they have coronavirus.

Guidance can be found at the following links:

 

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

This advice published by DfE 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

Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS)

  • The Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS) offers an enhanced service for local authorities and registered charities to establish whether a rough sleeper has access to public funds.
  • Immigration status checks are completed and returned within 24 hours. This enables RSSS Users to be able to quickly establish the individual’s status and any entitlement to public funding, in order to access support.
  • Charities or local authorities will first register their organisation to be able to access the service and become an RSSS User.
    To make a referral the person whose information is sought should be aware of the purpose of the service and must give their consent to be referred.
  • The RSSS does not have a case management function nor does it consider applications itself but will look to identify the teams who are responsible and arrange for the case to be prioritised. This will not influence the outcome of the application but aims to reduce the risks to rough sleepers who may be unable to access services whilst their application is in progress.

Full details on how the service operates are contained within the RSSS User Agreement along with links to the registration form and referral form.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-support-service 

 

Voluntary Returns Service resuming assisted returns from 13 July 2020

From 13 July 2020 Voluntary Returns Service are resuming assisted returns. Please do encourage individuals and families who are in the UK without leave and who wish to return home to contact the Voluntary Returns Service to discuss the support options available to them:

Telephone: 0300 0040 202 Opening hours 09:00-17:00

Online form: https://www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily

 

Home Office fact sheet on NRPF - 5 May 2020

The fact sheet includes key information on NRPF, access to healthcare and support for victims of domestic violence with NRPF. 

Home Office NRPF fact sheet 

 

NRPF Network - updated Factsheet for councils: Supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

The factsheet includes updates to the homelessness response, new asylum support rates, free school meals eligibility and extension of eviction protections for renters.

 

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.

 

NRPF Network resources and fact sheets:

  • Factsheet for councils: Supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

Supporting people with NRPF during the pandemic

  • Helping European Economic Area (EEA) residents to secure status
    under the EU Settlement Scheme 

Helping EEA nationals to secure EU settled status

2020-2021 Grant Funded Network Launch

New £4.5 million grant funding has been awarded to 72 organisations including local authorities, local government associations and voluntary and community sector organisations – list of organisations is available to view here.
The Grant Funded Network for 2020-2021 will provide a wide range of support, available across the UK, ensuring those most vulnerable and at-risk continue to get the help they need.

 

New social media assets to share

A new social media graphic is available to raise awareness of the scheme among people who may not have applied yet – click here to download and share it on your channels.

Other graphics available are:
• Translated versions of the 4 million graphic in a range of European languages including Welsh (available shortly)
• Bespoke graphics for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland highlighting the overall number of applications to the scheme per region

 

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.

COVID-19 Exceptional Assurance

Now travel restrictions are lifting globally individuals can no longer extend visas on the basis that they are unable to leave the UK due to COVID 19 and they are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK.

If an individual intends to leave the UK but has not been able to do so and has a visa or leave that expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020 they may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT). These requests are looked at on a case by case basis.

Exceptional assurance does not grant leave. Grants of ‘exceptional assurance’ act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after leave has expired. If the expired conditions allowed an individual to work, study or rent accommodation they may continue to do so during the period of exceptional assurance.

If you’ve already been given assurance but your circumstances have changed or you’re unable to leave the UK by the assurance date previously given, you must reapply through the online form.

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

Those wishing to remain in the UK longer term must apply and meet the requirements for leave. They are still able to apply to switch leave from within the UK where they would usually need to apply from their home country.

 

Home Office Factsheet: New public health measures at the UK border to help fight coronavirus - 22 May 2020

On 10 May the Prime Minister announced new measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections. See the link below for further details. 

New public health measures at the UK border 

 

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.

Vaccinations  

 A letter from NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England explains how people do not need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and reassures that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and available to every adult living in the UK, free of charge without any immigration checks. People can organise their vaccination by contacting their local GP practice or by going to a walk-in or pop-up vaccination centre. The letter will be available in other languages soon. This information has also been published in COVID-19: migrant health guide

The letter also advises that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions should be offered the COVID-19 vaccination.    Coronavirus Resources Centre translations.

 

HSE vaccination videos 

London doctors, nurses and other frontline staff came forward to record messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages – apart from English – in the capital to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach all Londoners

https://www.england.nhs.uk/london/our-work/covid-19-vaccine-communication-materials/

 

NHS materials on vaccinations in multiple languages

Please click on the relevant language listed in the left sidebar

https://www.healthpublications.gov.uk/ArticleSearch.html?sp=St-1305&sp=Sreset

 

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 

COVID-19: guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers

Following implementation of Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, most coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have now been lifted. This guidance has been updated to reflect these changes. COVID-19 has not gone away and everyone should continue to take precautions. See How to stay safe and help prevent the spread for more information.

The Home Office has a statutory requirement, under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to arrange accommodation for asylum seekers and their dependants who would otherwise be destitute.

This guidance is aimed at all staff involved in providing support to asylum seekers in all accommodation settings. This guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide. In the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.

COVID-19: guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Doctors of the World Covid-19 vaccine briefing

This briefing from Doctors of the World has some useful information and resource on outreach vaccine delivery for inclusion health groups, including vulnerable migrant populations.

COVID-19 Vaccine Briefing: Tailored outreach vaccination delivery services for socially excluded groups in the UK

 

Doctors of the World Covid-19 vaccine project

Doctors of the World UK (DOTW) has launched a Covid-19 vaccine advocacy project to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the vaccine, regardless of immigration status. As well as producing translated Covid-19 information resources, DOTW will play a proactive advocacy and coordination role in relation to the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme in the UK. The project, which will run for the next twelve months, aims is to ensure that the vaccine is equally available to everyone in the UK, regardless of immigration status.  

A key objective of the project is to provide migrant and other excluded communities (and the organisations that support these communities) with the information and resources needed to access the vaccine.

We will be producing a regular briefing on the vaccination policy and roll out plans. This week’s briefing focusses on access to mainstream vaccine services and the role of GP registration and NHS number. It applies to England only. Future briefings will include bespoke and outreach service delivery, vaccine hesitancy in marginalised communities and recommendations and will also cover policy and implementation in the devolved nations. If there are topics you would like the briefing to cover, please let us know.

We will continue to keep our translated coronavirus information resources (in 60+ languages) up to date and are building a translated health information hub on our website to make it easier to navigate the resources. From next week we will have translated information on the covid-19 vaccine (and the flu vaccine). Please share the link to the website with your service users. If you would like to receive updates when new resources become available please subscribe here.

 

Updated gov.uk guidance on border health measures (quarantine arrangements) from 22 January 2021

The gov.uk page has now been updated to reflect the new guidance around quarantine arrangements and the suspension of travel corridors which came into effect on 18 January 2021.

The updated guidance is here and the link to the information on the closure of travel corridors is here: travel corridors suspension.

 

Health measures at borders from 22 January 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

 

An Unsafe Distance: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Excluded People in England

A briefing on the Doctors of the World UK’s Rapid Needs Assessment of Excluded People in England during the COVID-19 pandemic

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/covid19-brief-rna-report.pdf 

 

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 interviews continue under lockdown - 5 November 2020

The Home Office have considered the risks associated with maintaining operations and have concluded that their temporary surge intake units and asylum interview operations will continue in all of the regions – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For further information see below.

Asylum Operations National Restrictions Update 05.11.2020

 

The resumption of substantive asylum interviews guidance - 6 August 2020

This guidance informs you of the planned process to resume substantive asylum interviews, mainly through video conferencing.

The resumption of substantive asylum interviews

 

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

 

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.

Digital safety during COVID-19 - Home Office guidance 

Please see the full text of the guidance here

 

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.

Update on Asylum Operations’ UASC interview plans, following the successful pilot with Kent County Council - 5 November 2020

In recent months, UKVI and Kent County Council (KCC), have worked collaboratively with the South East Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP) UASC coordinator to produce a blueprint to restart UASC/YP asylum interviews utilising video interviewing digital capability and remote facilities.

In order to expand the number of UASC/YP interviews, building upon the successful testing, the Home Office are now working with local authorities across the UK to roll out this process nationally. The Home Office have provided assurance that remote interviewing will be in addition to interviews on Home Office premises, not instead of.

 

DfE summary of the position for newly arriving UASC

This supplements the UASC section of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services.

Since 8 June, in line with requirements for all UK residents and visitors coming into the UK, UASC must provide their journey and contact details and must self-isolate for the first 14 days they’re in the UK, except in very limited situations.

From 10 July, travellers do not have to self-isolate if they are arriving from a country or territory on the travel corridors list. They still have to provide their journey and contact details.

In relation to newly arriving UASC, local authorities should make informed judgments on a case by case basis. If they are satisfied that a young person has only travelled from or through countries on the travel corridor list in the past 14 days, then they do not need to make arrangements for them to self-isolate. If the young person has travelled from or through any countries not on the travel corridor list in the past 14 days, then they are required to self-isolate. We appreciate it may not always be possible to determine where a young person has travelled from or through and in these circumstances self-isolation may still be required. Details on exemption rules and the position regarding transit stops are provided here.

As regards making provisions for isolation, local authorities should note that the regulations state that for a child, any person who has custody or charge of the child during the period of self-isolation must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the child self-isolates in accordance with this regulation (The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 s4(11)).

If a young person is symptomatic on or after arrival, arrangements should be made for them to self-isolate in line with guidance on isolation, regardless of where they have travelled from or through. The local authority should arrange for any symptomatic young person to have a test to check if they have coronavirus.

Guidance can be found at the following links:

 

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

This advice published by DfE 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

Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS)

  • The Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS) offers an enhanced service for local authorities and registered charities to establish whether a rough sleeper has access to public funds.
  • Immigration status checks are completed and returned within 24 hours. This enables RSSS Users to be able to quickly establish the individual’s status and any entitlement to public funding, in order to access support.
  • Charities or local authorities will first register their organisation to be able to access the service and become an RSSS User.
    To make a referral the person whose information is sought should be aware of the purpose of the service and must give their consent to be referred.
  • The RSSS does not have a case management function nor does it consider applications itself but will look to identify the teams who are responsible and arrange for the case to be prioritised. This will not influence the outcome of the application but aims to reduce the risks to rough sleepers who may be unable to access services whilst their application is in progress.

Full details on how the service operates are contained within the RSSS User Agreement along with links to the registration form and referral form.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-support-service 

 

Voluntary Returns Service resuming assisted returns from 13 July 2020

From 13 July 2020 Voluntary Returns Service are resuming assisted returns. Please do encourage individuals and families who are in the UK without leave and who wish to return home to contact the Voluntary Returns Service to discuss the support options available to them:

Telephone: 0300 0040 202 Opening hours 09:00-17:00

Online form: https://www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily

 

Home Office fact sheet on NRPF - 5 May 2020

The fact sheet includes key information on NRPF, access to healthcare and support for victims of domestic violence with NRPF. 

Home Office NRPF fact sheet 

 

NRPF Network - updated Factsheet for councils: Supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

The factsheet includes updates to the homelessness response, new asylum support rates, free school meals eligibility and extension of eviction protections for renters.

 

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.

 

NRPF Network resources and fact sheets:

  • Factsheet for councils: Supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

Supporting people with NRPF during the pandemic

  • Helping European Economic Area (EEA) residents to secure status
    under the EU Settlement Scheme 

Helping EEA nationals to secure EU settled status

2020-2021 Grant Funded Network Launch

New £4.5 million grant funding has been awarded to 72 organisations including local authorities, local government associations and voluntary and community sector organisations – list of organisations is available to view here.
The Grant Funded Network for 2020-2021 will provide a wide range of support, available across the UK, ensuring those most vulnerable and at-risk continue to get the help they need.

 

New social media assets to share

A new social media graphic is available to raise awareness of the scheme among people who may not have applied yet – click here to download and share it on your channels.

Other graphics available are:
• Translated versions of the 4 million graphic in a range of European languages including Welsh (available shortly)
• Bespoke graphics for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland highlighting the overall number of applications to the scheme per region

 

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.

COVID-19 Exceptional Assurance

Now travel restrictions are lifting globally individuals can no longer extend visas on the basis that they are unable to leave the UK due to COVID 19 and they are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK.

If an individual intends to leave the UK but has not been able to do so and has a visa or leave that expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020 they may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT). These requests are looked at on a case by case basis.

Exceptional assurance does not grant leave. Grants of ‘exceptional assurance’ act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after leave has expired. If the expired conditions allowed an individual to work, study or rent accommodation they may continue to do so during the period of exceptional assurance.

If you’ve already been given assurance but your circumstances have changed or you’re unable to leave the UK by the assurance date previously given, you must reapply through the online form.

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

Those wishing to remain in the UK longer term must apply and meet the requirements for leave. They are still able to apply to switch leave from within the UK where they would usually need to apply from their home country.

 

Home Office Factsheet: New public health measures at the UK border to help fight coronavirus - 22 May 2020

On 10 May the Prime Minister announced new measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections. See the link below for further details. 

New public health measures at the UK border 

 

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.