Saturday 06 June 2020

COVID-19

This page contains information on COVID-19 in relation to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the East Midlands, as well as those working with and supporting them. Please be advised that this is not a comprehensive and up-to-date source of information, however EMSMP team are working to update the information as often as possible. We do advise people to check national websites such as, NHSGOV.UK, Public Health EnglandLocal Government Association.

This page was last edited on 5th June 2020.

Government Announcements:

Asylum 

[added 30.04]
  • Asylum Operations are continuing to make and serve decisions on cases where there is enough information to do so - They are continuing to review them on a case by case basis, ensuring those with significant safeguarding concerns or vulnerabilities are only served if appropriate to do so. Decisions that may be affected, and therefore on hold include; 1) where a recipient may be vulnerable to destitution as a result of our decision and/or 2) where an individual is particularly vulnerable, an example being someone with mental health conditions, and also those with disabilities.
  • Regional Asylum Intake Units - additional locations - The AIU in Croydon will continue to function as normal but will additionally be supported by limited operations in Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Cardiff. These will be to meet the demands of asylum registrations within the geographical area and will not operate a 5-day service. Click here for more information.
  • New factsheet on asylum accomodation and applications - has been produced by the UK Government in light of coronavirus. It can be accessed here.
[added 16.04]
  • Asylum Intake Unit (AIU) screening interviews have been cancelled - The Home Office have cancelled some screening interviews and are working on a new system for asylum claims to be registered regionally without the need to physically attend the Asylum Intake Unit in Croydon. Further information on this can be found here.
  • Asylum decisions can now be served by email - The Home Office have set up a process whereby they will send an email to the legal representative (using the most recent email address they have on file) to verify that the email address  is correct, that the representative is happy to receive emails, the authority to act is current and that there are no reasons why serving the decision by email would not be appropriate. For more information, click here.
  • Postal applications for refugee integration loans are no longer being accepted - however can be accepted via email. Guidance on applying for the loan can be found here and details of how to apply can be found here.
[added 30.03]
  • All evictions and terminations of support paused for 3 months - On 27 March, the Home Office announced that for the next three months, people will not be asked to leave their asylum accommodation. This applies to both people whose asylum cases are refused and those who are granted status. This was announced by a letter to the British Red Cross.
[added 27.03]
  • The First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) announced that all hearings up to 30th April 2020 will be converted to Case Management Hearings (CMR) via telephone or Skype which will take place on the original hearing date in a time slot to be allocated. More information on this can be found here.
[added 25.03]
  • Voluntary Returns Service— The Home Office have decided to currently cease offering assisted returns at the time, due to difficulties of assisting returns as well as the infrastructure, it has made it become impossible to offer the level of support needed at this time. They will however continue to register an interest from people who wish to return, and to offer other levels of support to help as many people as they possibly can, including arranging flights, get travel documents etc. and to talk through the offer on an individual basis. Furhter information and how to be in touch can be accessed here
  • Section 95 support - Due to the current Covid19 pandemic, there has been a pause in face to face substantive asylum interviews. There are likely to be delays in initial decision-making and in asylum appeals taking place. Therefore people may remain entitled to s95 support for longer. Those that do lose their asylum appeals should remain on support as, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is impossible for them to leave the UK. In the event that they do receive notification that their s95 support is being discontinued, they should immediately apply for s4 support. Further details can be found here .
  • Asylum seekers with a fresh claim - The majority of refused asylum-seekers on s4 support have outstanding fresh claims as it has long been established that it is not reasonable to be expected to leave the UK when waiting for a decision on a fresh claim. The Further Submissions Unit has closed to face to face further submissions appointments and it is now possible to send the further submissions in post. More information can be found here
  • UKVI Reporting and Offender Management (ROM) Team have now confirmed reporting frequencies for reportees in light of the COVID-19 developing situation.  The decision taken is that they will initially suspend reporting for all reportees and an SMS message will be sent out to reportees shortly advising them of this. The agreement is that reporting will be suspended for Non FNO’s for 3 months.  For FNO’s, they will all be moved to monthly reporting. They will then, via SMS, inform reportees of the change to their reporting and when they should next report.

EUSS Settlement Scheme

[added 01.06]
  • Video guidance on EUSS support from the 21st May- can be accessed here. 
  • 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.
[added 29.05]
  • EU Settlement Scheme application routes and services resume -Home Office support services and application routes have all fully reopened in line with public health guidance. There continues to be a range of support available online, by telephone and by email for those who have questions or need help applying. The postal route for submitting identity evidence is also open for applicants who are unable to use the app to verify their identity. Click here to read the full update.
[added 01.04]
  • The AIRE Centre's has launched a Settlement Guide for vulnerable young people which aims is to assist vulnerable young people, including those in care or who have recently left care to apply for EUSS. It includes explanations about what EUSS is, how to apply and a short quiz which gives a decision about what status they might have. Click here to access
[added 30.03]
  • Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC) The SRC will no longer be answering telephone calls. It will, however, continue to respond to email enquiries and provide a call back function when required. Emails from support organisations will be prioritised where possible. To ask questions or if you have a query, click here.
  • ID document scanners - all locations have been suspended at this time due to the latest Public Health England advice.
  • Postal route for submitting Identity evidence - The postal route for submitting identity evidence is also currently suspended. We are unable to accept any documents by post at this time, but all documents already sent to us will be returned as quickly as possible. Applications can still be made online using the “EU Exit ID Document check app”.
  • 57 grant funded voluntary and community sector organisationsSome services have been suspended but organisations are seeking to provide support in other ways, in line with social distancing guidance, for example via telephone and online. Please check with the individual organisations for further details. 
  • Additional support is available to those EU citizens in the UK who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through Assisted Digital, which can offer assistance over the phone. More information can be found here.
  • Translated communications material - in 26 different languages can be accessed here. Alternative formats can also be requested.
[added 25.03]
  • The Home Office’s EU Settlement Resolution Centre telephone lines are currently closed in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, however the Home Office can be contacted via online email enquiry form. The Settlement Resolution Centre is providing an automated message to state that they will open the line again once they are able to do this safely.  Many ID scanning services have also been suspended, so it is advised to contact the service before attending by clicking here
  • Many organisations supporting people to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme have had to cancel their face-to-face outreach activities, but many organisations are still providing advice via phone or email. To find an organisation near you, click here.

Modern Slavery:

[added 06.04]
  • Support for modern slavery victims affected by coronavirus - The government have announced immediate changes for people in the modern slavery victim care contract. Those in government-funded safe accommodation are allowed to stay-in for the next three months rather than being moved on after 45 days. Click here for further information. 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

[added 27.04]
  • Calls to ease No Recourse to Public Funds conditions - House of Commons Library briefing identifies what state support and concessions might be available for migrants with NRPF during the coronavirus crisis. To read, click here.
[added 23.04]
  • NRPF New factsheet and information for councils - This includes rights, entitlements, Home Office changes, signposting to support and advice services. Click here to access this resource.
[added 01.04]
  • The NRPF Network have provided a factsheet for councils on supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which includes details on support for people with NRPF from homelessness services to social services' support, rights and entitlements of people with NRPF, as well as Home Office support and updates on changes to the process. This can be accessed here.
[added 25.03]
  •  The NRPF Network have a section on their website on their update for NRPF services. Click here to access their current update.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC)

[added 15.05]
  • DfE have just published guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care setting - this includes the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes information on what protection is needed when transporting children. Click here for more information.
[added 30.04]
  • Fact sheet on information in relation to UASC transfers - The UK Government have provided a fact sheet in relation to transfers of UASC into the UK. This includes their key points, background information and figures. This can be accessed here.
  • Update from Midlands Intake Unit in relation to UASC - At present the reporting centre remains Solihull is closed and there is no time frame for it to re-open as things stand.  However, they are still able to note the cases but cannot register regional asylum claims at this timeThey have advised to continue to refer UASC cases directly to MIU Minors and will record the details and issue a port reference number. For cases that wish to be seen in Solihull should go directly to MIU minors. At present we cannot register the claims, issue any paperwork or ARC documents until the biometrics are obtained which is not currently possible with office closures due to COVID-19.  When the situation changes, we will resume inviting social workers to present their UASC cases to appointments. If you have any questions in relation to this, contact Matthew.Clarke@emcouncils.gov.uk 
[added 06.04]
  • Guidance for local authorities on children’s social care, including UASC and care leavers - This guidance by DfE covers guidance for UASC on where can symptomatic UASC self-isolate, what is being done to increase capacity for UASC self-isolation, as well as who has legal responsibility for UASC in self-isolation accommodation. To access the guidance, click here.

[added 25.03]
  • Letter to Directors of Children’s Services regarding local authorities’ duties towards unaccompanied asylum seeking children can be downloaded here .

Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS)

  • IOM and UNHCR announce temporary suspension of resettlement travel for refugees. As countries drastically reduce entry into their territories owing to the COVID-19 global health crisis, and restrictions around international air travel are introduced, travel arrangements for resettling refugees are currently subject to severe disruptions. For more information, you can find the announcement here.

Other:

[added 01.06]
  • UK Border Control rules in place for entering the UK because of coronavirus (COVID-19) - From 8 June, rules will be in place for residents and visitors for entering the UK. Click here for more information. Some travellers will be exempt from new UK border rules introduced to due to coronavirus. This means they may not need to provide their journey or contact details or self-isolate for 14 days after they arrive in the UK. Click here for the official guidance on exemption.
[added 27.05]
  • Updated information on UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) - Under the guidance for on advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents there has been an addition of a link to guidance on how to cancel your visa. Added a link to the latest information on changes at the border. Click here to access.
[added 26.05]
  • Visa extensions for those unable to leave the UK because of coronavirus has been extended - to 31 July 2020 as updated on the 22nd May. Click here for further information. 
  • Everyone in the UK with symptons is now eligble for tests - Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; and now also a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste can book a test by visiting the link here.
[added 22.05]
  • Government to offer antibody tests to health and social care staff and patients in England - on May 21st, it was announced that health and social care staff will be offered a test. The Public Health England study seeks to understand whether the presence of COVID antibodies protects people from future infection of COVID-19. Up to 10,000 healthcare workers will be studied for at least a year, with data collected recording history of infection and any new symptoms that appear during the course of the study. Click here to read the press release.
[added 14.05]
  • £5 million Loneliness COVID-19 grant fund - The Government has launched a fund available to help national organisation to tackle loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing. The plan will aim to ensure that, for people of all ages and backgrounds, staying at home does not need to lead to loneliness. The fund is available for charitable organisations and is in England only. Click here for more information and how to apply. 
[added 12.05]
  • Dedicated app for social care workers launched - A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched to support staff through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This app includes  access to guidance, learning resources, discounts and other support all in one place such as mental health and wellbeing through toolkits and resources. Click here for more information. 
  • Letter to Industry partners on countering online child sexual exploitation and abuse during the coronoavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - The Minister of State for Security writes to industry partners on countering online child sexual exploitation and abuse during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter can be downloaded here.
  • Updated information about calling the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre - you can also email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre, however there is now an option to call. It has been advised to check call charges if calling from abroad. Click here to find out more.
[added 11.05]
  • Protecting places of worship consultation deadline extenstion - until 28th June in order to provide people with more op portunity to respond in these difficult times. This Home Office consultation asks faith groups what else is needed to help them feel safe and confident to practice their religion. To ensure the most beneficial responses from Government, there would need to be a good level of response from faith groups. People are asked to complete the consultation and share it widely. Click here for more information. 
[added 04.05]
  • Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic - Communities Secretary announces £76 million extra funding to support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery. A total of £34.15 million will support work to safeguard vulnerable children including children with disabilities, those who are critically ill, care leavers and children in the early years, £28 million to help survivors of domestic abuse and their children by providing more safe spaces, accommodation and access to support services, £10 million has been announced to support victims of sexual violence and £1.73 million to support survivors of modern slavery. Click here to read more. 
[added 28.04]
  • Who is eligble for technology and how to apply for support - After the announcment below, the government have now advised who is eligible to access the technology including laptop and devices as well as internet access. The process on how to apply can also be found via this link
[added 24.04]
  • New package announced to support online learning - 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. This will apply to unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people, and other children receiving the support of a social worker. Click here for the news story
[added 20.04]
  • EXTRA £1.6 billion for councils pledge by government - for vital services including adult social care and children’s services. This extra funding takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. Click here to read the full anouncement.  
[added 16.04]
  • Free school meals for those on S.4 support and NPRF - the Secretary of State agreed to extend free school meal entitlement temporarily during the current crisis to children who are of families that either: recieve s4 support, zambrano carers and have NRPF. Click here for the guidance on free school meals.
  • Detention centres are now closed to vistiors and have stopped the new detentions of people  who would in normal circumstances be facing removal to one of the 49 countries (click the link below to see these countries) to which removals are not currently taking place because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Click here for more information. 
[added 15.04]
  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents - now includes information about applicants who can start work or study in the UK before their visa application has been decided. Information on this can be found here
  • Home Office announces £2m and awareness campaign for domestic abuse victims - The Home Secretary announces support for domestic abuse victims as a new public awareness raising campaign will highlight that if anyone is at risk of, or experiencing domestic abuse, help is still available.
    The additional money will "immediately" bolster helplines and online support, the home secretary announced. Click here for more details. 
[added 02.04]
  • COVID-19: emergency funding for local government of 1.6 millions breakdown released - On 19 March 2020, the government announced £1.6 billion of additional funding for local government to help them respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. This document sets out the allocations for local authorities, which can be accessed here. This funding is also intended to meet the cost of extra demand and higher BAU 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 forunaccompanied asylum seeking children.
[added 01.04]
  • NHS frontline workers visas extended so they can focus on fighting coronavirus - Doctors, nurses and paramedics with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year as part of the national effort to combat coronavirus. To read more, click here.
  • Temporary changes to right to work and right to rent - the temporary changes will mean the Home Office will not require landlords and employers to see original documents and will allow checks to be undertaken over video calls. These temporary changes will mean that during the coronavirus outbreak prospective renters and workers can submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent or right to work. For more information, click here.
[added 30.03]
  • DWP National Insurance number interviews - National Insurance Number interviews are not currently taking place for 3 months effective from 17/03/2020. The DWP have advised that individuals can start work without a National Insurance Number as long as they have the right to work in the UK and employers have information to allow them to do this. For further information around DWP Services during this current crisis please access the Coronavirus and claiming Benefits section on Understanding Universal Credit website. 
[added 27.03]
  • Statelessness applications The Home Office are currently unable to process any statelessness applications or make any decisions on Stateless Leave applications due to capacity issues.  Statelessness interviews have also been suspended. However, online applications can still be made and the Home Office will seek to resume this work as soon as they are able to do so. For more information click here.
  • Welfare benefits - The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has also been making temporary changes to their policies regarding access to welfare benefits as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Refugee Council have provided an overview of the changes which can be accessed here, or altneratively you can visit the DWP's announcement here.
  • Government support available for landlords and renters -  The Government has amended most types of eviction notice in the social and private rented sector, so that a tenant must be given three months’ notice before any court proceedings to evict commence. This change lasts for notices issues until 30 September 2020, but that date could be amended. Alongside this, all current and upcoming eviction proceedings in the courts have been suspended so that no private or social tenant can be evicted for 90 days from 27 March 2020. More information can be accessed here.
  • Government aims to house all rough sleepers by the weekend- On the 26th March, the Government wrote to local authorities in England asking them to house all people sleeping rough, and those in hostels and night shelters, by the weekend. The letter from Luke Hall MP, the homelessness minister, is being widely interpreted to include ‘everyone’, meaning that local authorities should be finding accommodation and support for people with NRPF where they need it due to the pandemic. 
[added 26.03]
  • £2.9 billion funding to strengthen care for the vulnerable - £1.6 billion will go to local authorities to help them respond to other coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people. For more information, click here.
  • Government launches Coronavirus Information Service - The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. To access to the full report, click here.
[added 25.03]
  • Visas extended for those currently unable to return home due to COVID-19  - The extension was announced on 24th March by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, that will apply to anyone whose leave expired after the 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation. This will last until 31 May but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed. A COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible. For more information or to for details of how to contact, please click here.
  • Legal Aid Agency contingency response—  Advice for legal aid providers setting has been set out what the Legal Aid Agency is putting in place to help them continue to provide service for their clients during COVID-19.The whole report can be found here.

Community Sponsorships

[added 08.04]
  • Toolkit on Covid-19 relating to things to check/do as a Community Sponsorship Group - this toolkit includes guidance and information on areas such as managing your group, if you have recently welcomed a family, groups who are in the process of appying and have submitted an application as well as training and support (see below on training information). Click here to access the toolkit.
  • Welcoming applications for community sponsorshipsRESET are continuing to accept community sponsorship applications and welcome further. If you would like to find out more about community sponsorships, click here.

Education/ ESOL

  • On Wednesday 18th March, the Prime Minister announced that schools and educations facilities will close as of, Friday 20th March, therefore the academic year's exams will not go ahead. In light of this, face-to-face ESOL classes have therefore also ceased across the country. Like other teaching, lots of the classes have continued virtually on either Zoom, Skype or othe online portals. There has been lots of resources, guidance and tips prepared to help those who are either teaching or learning ESOL, please see below; 
[added 15.05]
  • Talk English resorces - Talk English Courses are for ESOL beginners and will help you to improve your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. For more information, click here.
  • Little Bridge is offering free online ESOL training - that is aimed at children, but may also help adults supporting their children or for their own learning. For more information or how to contact, click here.
[added 22.04]
  • Coronavirus (COVID 19): online education resources - Online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home including English, Maths, Science, PE, mental health and wellbeing. Click here to access.
  • Online Digital learning - North East Migration Partnership have gathered lots of ESOL material that is being circulated at this current time. This includes, general ESOL classes, upcoming online courses, youtube videos, mobile phone apps and other useful resources including Amazon. Click here to access.
[added 07.04]
  • Manchester ESOL advice service - have added a new page to their website 'Learn English at home' - which gives links to useful websites and YouTube videos that learners can use to practise English. There's a drop-down menu by level where activities are broken down by topic or skill containing links to resources for that level e.g. speaking & listening, writing, grammar, vocabulary. The website can also be accessed in many different languages. Click here to access.
[added 16.04]
  • RefuNet - are providing online teaching by volunters, as well as teaching material and learning material available for those teaching asylum seekers nad refugees. Click here to access.
[added 06.04]
  • Free online ESOL resources have been helpfully collated in a post at Leeds' Migration Parternship blog for students of a range of lovels who are keen to continue their studies. It can be downloaded here .
  • Upbeat Communities are offering free sessions for asylum seekers and refugees via WhatsApp including English classes, creative activities and a weekly gathering for women all online, as well as sharing vital information in different languages and are delivering at least one session per day. For more information on this, contact Upbeat Communities by clicking here.
  • Opportunity for online learning resources for UASC - Big Leaf Foundation have launched a new project 'Keep Talking' to respond to the needs of young people during this time of isolation by putting togethe a collection of online activitie and challenges to help improve English, be creative, stay connected and ask questions. The project is only in Surrey, however they have kindly offered to share their online learning resources with organisation and charities working with young refugees/ UASC. Click here for more information and to get in touch.
[added 02.04]
  • Teach from Home - has been created as a temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis including how to live Q+As with your class, keeping your class engaged, how to create and online quiz and much more. To go to their website, click here.
[added 31.03]
  • ESOL for Integration Fund deadline extension - has been extended to the 7th May where councils can apply to ESOL in accessible and community locations, including Derby, Nottingham, Lincolnshire, Wellingborough and more. Click here to see if your area is eligible, or click here for more information. 
[added 30.03]
  • UPDATED version of ideas on ESOL during Covid19 which has been kindly created by the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership that contains some suggestions and ideas on learning and maintaining ESOL through the coronavirus outbreak period, as well as links to online courses. Updated information - online courses for English, links on English for Children, mental and physical health tips, as well as teaching material and guidance. This can be downloaded here .
  • OneStopEnglish have made all their resources FREE until the end of June including lesson plans, worksheets, flashcards, audio and video files covering IT in ESOL as well as pre-entry ESOL materials. Click here for further information. 
  • English My Way - have also got free resources and materials available online, especially for Pre-Entry and new reader writer learners. Their website can be found here.
[added 25.03]
  • ESOL Study at Home guidance. To download, click here .
  • BBC Learning English have a wide range of different ways to learn english, will access to 'Learn in your own language' including Mandarin, Punjabi and lots more which can be accessed here.
  • Ideas on ESOL during Covid19 which contains some suggestions and ideas on learning and maintaining ESOL through the coronavirus outbreak period, as well as links to online courses.
  • A technology list of courses available online for all different ages can be found here .

Health:

[added 03.06]
[added 02.06]
[added 01.06]
  • Doctors of the World have published a report relation to the impact of COVID-19 - This report looks at the impact of COVID-19 on excluded people in England which can be found here.
[added 22.05]
  • Doctors of the World UK now availble in 60 languages - The updated version includes changes in social distancing rules and the new symptom of coronavirus (see attached for contents). Please note the guidance is valid across the UK. Click here to access these resources.
[added 20.05]
  • Government  guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 - Advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here to access.
  • Resources and guidance for children in care and care leavers - BECOME, the charity for children in care and care leavers have produced some resources and guidance for those who may be feeling anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes FAQs, weekly link ups, use of social media and much more. Click here to access.
[added 19.05]
  • Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty - Pyschology Tools have put together resources in many different languages on living with worry and anxiety amidst the current global pandemic. It includes information on the worry chain and information on activities that mabe useful. For more information, click here.
  • Mental Health resources - that are all available in other languages and has been compiled from a variety of sources. Click here to download.
[added 06.05]
  • Audio metal health resources - Touchstone / IAPT have created an online audio resource in Iranian/ Farsi/ Persian to support mental health and wellbeing. The audios include muscular techniques and grounding techniques and many more. Click here to access. 
  • Oral Health - how to access dentistry during the pandemic - BASCD has just released some high level oral health messages for families along with information on how to access NHS dentistry during the pandemic. To access, click here.
[added 28.04]
  • Updated guidance on NHS entitlement for migrants - Link have been added to translated COVID-19 guidance for the public as well as added translated message on COVID-19 testing and treatment free of charge to visitors from outside the EEA in 40 different languages. To access this guidance, click here.
  • Doctors of the world guidance now in 49 languages which can be accessed here. They also have available coronavirus video advice in 10 language including English, Arabic, Kurdish and many more. Click here to access the videos. Doctors of the World would like to hear your feedback, ideas and suggestions in terms of their advice on COVID-19, please click here to give your thoughts. 
[added 23.04]
  • Resource for professionals coping with PPE -  developed by Performing Medicine which covers top tips to using PPe in the current circumstances including preparation, breathing, speaking, clothing and many more. Click here to access the guidance.
[added 22.04]
  • Coping strategies for anxious times - Bristol City Council, NHS and Traumatic Stress Services have produced guidance on coping strategies for anxious times during the coronavirus outbreak in 15 different languages. These include English , French , Pashto , Somali , Albanian , Arabic , Bengali , Mandarin , Polish , Romanian , Farsi ,Tigrinya , Turkish , Urdu and Sorani .
  • Translated mental health material/ resources - This page provides direct links to national and international websites and databases enabling refugees and asylum seekers, social and mental health care professionals, organisations and agencies working with them in the UK and internationally to easily access an abundance of translated mental as well as general health resources and information in a variety of languages. To access this resource, click here
[added 15.04]
  • The Samaritans resources on mental health - they have gathered some resources to help individuals look after their wellbeing at this time. The resources include if you are finding things tough, looking after your own mental health, remote working, social media, coronavirus symptoms and worrying about someone else. To access these, please click here.
[added 06.04]
  • Tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health for young people- YoungMinds have put together an information page together with tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, including dealing with anxiety, eating disorders and low moods. This can be found here. They have also put together a help page for parents supporting children through the pandemic, which can be found here.
[added 30.03]
  • Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) - This guide provides advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including areas on how to improve your wellbeing as well as details of dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency. The guidance can be accessed here.
[added 25.03]
  • Access to Healthcare—Treatment for COVID-19 (and all communicable diseases) is free for everybody, however many migrants may not know this. There are important mechanisms of support and demands that local communities can make in order to ensure that everybody can access care. NHS have provided guidance on migrant health than can be found here.
  • Doctors of The World have shared with us COVID-19 guidance for patients produced in 21 languages: English, Albanian, Dari, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Bengali, Vietnamese, Kurdish Sorani is available at the moment, but more languages coming soon: Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Malayalam, Turkish, , Farsi, Amharic, Tigrinya, Somali. It is accessible here. The guidance is based on the government’s updated advice and health information and was produced in partnership with the British Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.
  • There is also a collection of guidance for health professionals, which can be found here.

Guidance/ Resources:

[added 01.06
  • Research on forced migration, sexual and gender-based violence and COVID-19 - conducted by the University of Birmingham, which was initiated in response to conversations with Refugee Women Connect and anecdotal information suggesting that forced migrant survivors’ suffering increased in the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to read the executive summary, or here for the full report.
[added 28.05] 
  • Zoom guides for refugees and migrant communities in the UK - and those working with them who are using Zoom to do remote support work and education during the Coronavirus pandemic, but they are free to be used and shared by anyone. Click here to access.
[added 26.05] 
  • Bereavement scheme for non-EEA family members of NHS and health and social care workers - The government have published guidance for non-EEA family members of any NHS worker, including support staff, or a healthcare or social care worker who has died as a result of coronavirus and has confirmed that they will receive immediate indefinite leave to remain, free of charge. Click here to read the full guidance document.
[added 22.05] 
  • British Red Cross Emergency Contact cards - In order to prevent people losing contact with loved ones during COVID 19, British Red Cross have produced some tips for staying connected and an Emergency Contact Card where people can write the name of the person they would wish to be contacted should they become seriously ill. This may be next of kin, a family member or friend. The Emergency Contact Card is to be completed in English so that emergency services can easily contact the person’s designated person. The accompanying language guides explain this and tips for people not confident in speaking/writing English. The prevention messages and Emergency Contact Cards can be downloaded at redcross.org.uk/trace, or people can make their own with paper and pen at home.  Currently, there are 11 languages available, with a further 11 in progress. 
  • COVID-19 infographics in multiple lanuages - these resources include infographics on an overview of COVID, self care, spread and prevention as well as myth busting. These can be accessed here.
[added 20.05] 
  • Finding temporary accommodation during COVID-19 - In response to COVID-19, NHS England, NHS Improvement and Crown Commercial Service, supported by Calder Conferences and Corporate Travel Management Limited (CTM), have developed a process for NHS staff, key workers and other impacted communities to access secure accommodation at hotels and other accommodation venues. Click here for further information.
[added 19.05] 
  • Equal Access Campaign FAQs regarding COVID-19 and refugee and asylum seeking students - STAR have put together a resource of information in relation the impact of COVID-19 on refugee and aslyum seeking students. Click here to access.
[added 15.05]
  • DWP's Benefits information available via WhatsApp - People can now access the most up-to-date benefits and support information via their smart phones, using WhatsApp. The service, which can be accessed by sending ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064 422, has been launched to help combat the spread of incorrect information and to make the correct information easily accessible.
[added 14.05]
  • Migrant Help's Coronavirus Support resource online - this includes information and acitivites in specific regions, translated material, information for children learning and lots more. Click here to access.
[added 13.05]
  • Childnet International's Supporting Young People Online (Leaflets) These can be accessed in 13 different languages and include areas such as tips for both primary school children and teens and areas such as content, conduct and more. Click here to access. 
[added 12.05]
  • Government have released further guidance for frontline workers working in different locations - carrying out supplementary work. The list of frontline workers affected has been expanded to include more occupations. Click here for more information.
[added 11.05]
  • Meaningful and creative activities to do at home whatever your age by Foundation Stones - Leicester Arts and Museums are the East Midlands hub for The Big Ideas Company, and New Walk Museum is the hub for collecting 'foundation stones'. This is a national project in which people can use a stone from their garden or park and paint it with whatever they feel - images or text - to remember those killed in the holocaust and in more recent genocides including Rwanda and Myanmar. The activity is appropriate for adults as well as children. If people would like their painted stones to be included in the new national memorial planned for later this year, they can keep them for now and then bring them to New Walk Museum when we reopen to be collected by the Big Ideas Company. All the information is on the Foundation Stones flyer, which can be downloaded here. Other resources from the Big Ideas Company are research based and ideal for home-educating children - football and other themes, See the 'No barriers at Home' resource, which can be downloaded here .
  • Translated guidance from DfE on Free School Meals FAQ - in Arabic can be downloaded here
[added 07.05]
  • Written translations to accompany the main advice and diagrams released by the NHS and WHO - compiled by the Big Leaf Foundation including: what we should do to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus, how to recognise symptoms; and what to do if we think we might have it, or if we have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.Click here to access these guidance.
  • International Driving Licence scam - There are reports of a Driving License scam circulating In other parts of the UK, refugees have fallen foul of this scam and lost a lot of money. What is known is that people have applied for an “International Driving Licence” from America. These cost £480 each and applications are made online with a follow up call from someone based in America asking a couple of questions. Once these have been answered, the person is asked to transfer money in return for an “International Driving License”. This is a scam. You can download advice, which has been drafted by NI SMP, in both English and Arabic .
[added 06.05]
  • Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do - including information on when you can leave your home, being a critical worker, information on what will happen if these rules are broken and many more. Click here to access the full guidance.
  • Star Amal Team newsletter have produced a newsletter for refugees - to keep them up to date with new information as well as entertained during the lockdown. This can be downloaded here.
[added 05.05]
  • Jobskilla On-line Courses for those who are unemployed and in receipt of a job-seeking benefit - course include Customer Service, Workskills with COSHH, CSCS test and card and many more. Click here to download further information on the course and how to get in touch.
[added 04.05]
  • Update on advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents - information has been added on what to do if your 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired or is about to expire as well as further guidance for frontline health workers on working in different locations, carrying out supplementary work. The list of frontline workers affected has been expanded to include more occupations. Click here to access the guidance.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested - now includes social care workers as well as personal care assistants. Click here for further information.
  • Modern Slavery Unit guidance for frontline non-first responders - The Home Office Modern Slavery Unit have developed a flyer to be distributed to frontline staff who are not first responders, with information on what to do if they encounter a potential victim of modern slavery. Click here to download the flyer.
  • Citizen's Advice guidance on How to apply for Universal Credit - in 14 languages includng Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Slovak, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu. Click here to download.
[added 28.04]
  • Housing advice from Shelter - Shelter have provided housing advice during coronavirus, including evictions, rent payment problems, domestic abuse, homelessness and many more. Click here to access.
[added 27.04]
  • WHO guidance around Safe Ramadan practices - in the context of the COVID-19 including advice on physical distancing, advice to high-risk groups as well as information on wellbeing. Click here to access in English, or here in Arabic.
  • Guidance on getting support if you're a migrant living in the UK - which explains the support you can get if you do not have permission to live permanently in the UK, including if you need medical treatment, if you are studying or working, if you can't afford housing costs or if you are an asylum seeker. Click here to access the guidance. 
  • Supporting Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds - Migration Scotland have produced a new framework to assist local authorities and their partners to support people with NRPF during the COVID-19 pandemic. It sets out the legal basis and other considerations for providing support during the response phase of the pandemic, with a specific focus on people with NRPF who are roofless/rough sleeping, or vulnerable from a safeguarding perspective. To access click here. This is Scotland specific however if you have any queries, please contact Brein.Fisher@emcouncils.gov.uk.  
  • Overview guidance document on Ramadan during COVID-19 - which has been put together by a local authority in the East Midlands to inform about Ramadan and also give tips on how to make it easier during COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to download.
[added 24.04]
  • Guidance on religious practices - in Syrian and English, as well as other areas including hygiene and burials. Click here to download.
  • Online Virtual Iftar - This year Open Iftar are bringing their experience to celebrate during lockdown. Individuals can sign-up for a #MyOpenIftar pack, share their experiences and continue to keep the Ramadan spirit alive. Click here to find out more. 
[added 23.04]
  • Guidance on working with migrants and refugees during the COVID-19 crisis by CIH - Chartered Institue of Housing have put together a fact sheet that is intended to help those working with people with different kinds of immigration status, whether they are tenants or come to you for advice. It is based on the information provided by the housing rights website. Click here to access the factsheet or click here for information on how does the outbreak affect migrants' access to housing and benefits.
[added 22.04]
  • Guidance on Ramadan - DfE have put together a document setting out what Ramadan is, it’s purpose to Muslims & how it is observed, the impact of restrictions this year & also how support is being in different places. They have also put together a lengthier & more detailed summary of the issues & practices in the context of COVID 19. 
  • Further guidance on Ramadan - The Muslim Council of Britian have put together both a factsheet and guidance on the effects of COVID19 (#RAMADANATHOME). Click here to read more and access. 
[added 20.04]
  • New guidance published for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students - This guidance sets out temporary policy concessions for Tier 4 sponsors, Tier 4 students and short-term study students in response to the outbreak of coronavirus. Click here to access this resource.
  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents (Tier 2) - This guidance was recently updated to include an added link to Tier 2 worker guidance to explain that some NHS workers and their families will get their visas automatically extended because of coronavirus. Click here for the latest update.
[added 16.04]
  • Video resources in different languages on essential advice on Coronavirus - including essential advice, hand washing as well as spotting the sign in many different languages. Click here to access all of the videos. 
[added 14.04]
  • Maths Mastery/ English Mastery resources - have designed a selection of resources to use at home, to make sure individuals have opportunities to talk and learn with someone every day. Below are resources and guidance that can be used to provide daily sessions for learners from Reception to Year 9. Click here to access. 
[added 09.04]
  • Coronavirus and domestic abuse guidance- for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here to access.
[added 07.04]
  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residentsfor all 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. There is now a link to a form for visa holders to update their information with the Coronavirus Immigration Team. Click here to access.
[added 06.04]
  • Coronavirus Asylum Handbook - The Refugee Action Good Practice and Partnerships Teamave developed the incredibly useful handbook on frontline organisations’ approaches and strategies (both immediate and longer term) to deliver support in the current context. A great resource for sharing good practice and finding out how others are tackling the barriers. To access this handbook, click here.
  • Translated guides to Zoom - have been created by Jewish Council for Racial Equality and West London Welcome which now include English, Arabic, French, Polish, Somali, Tigrinya and Kurdish. Click here to access.
[added 01.04]
  • Translated letter for at-risk patients - NHS have now uploaded translated versions of the letter to 'at risk patients' which is available in 11 different langauges and can be accessed here.
  • Stay at Home Guidance (Self isolation/ Social Distancing)- PHE produced this guidance in different languages [can be found below], but Public Health Wales have some additional formats to make the information more accessible to people who need audio-described or information in additional languages to English, using the Recite Me plug-in. Click here to access.
  • How to protect extremely vulnerable people (Shielding) - Public Health Wales have also added these additional formats to the guidance on how to protect extremely vulnerable people, which can be found here.
[added 27.03]
  • Local Government Association & Resources for Local Authorities The LGA is liaising with Public Health England (PHE), the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) regarding the evolving situation with the outbreak of the coronavirus. On these pages, you will be able to find the latest official information, as well as guidance and resources from the LGA and our key partners covering areas such as councillor resources, adult social care and support and much more. It can be found here.
[added 26.03]
  • Getting support as an extremely vulnerable person. As the link details, asylum seekers can register themselves or others can register on their behalf, which includes local authority colleagues and those within the NGO / VCS sectors as well as AASC providers. To start the registration process, click here.
  • COVID-19: guidance on residential care provision which sets out key messages to support planning and preparation in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19, aimed at local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and registered providers of accommodation for people who need personal or nursing care including registered residential care and nursing homes for people with learning disabilities, mental health and/or other disabilities. For more information, click here.
  • Guidance on isolation for residential educational settings to support the management of children and young people living in children’s homes, residential special schools and colleges, other further education (FE) providers with residential accommodation, mainstream boarding schools and university halls of residence. This can be accessed here.
[added 25.03]
  • Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is available here, which includes information of the symptons, social distancing and self-isolation. It is available in different languages including; Arabic, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish, Urdu, Welsh and more. 
  • Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults in English, Arabic, Bengali, French, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese- Mandarin, Traditional Chinese- Cantonese, Urdu and Welsh is available here.
  • Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) can be accessed here.
  • Foreign travel advice can be found here.
  • Foreign embassies in the UK can be accessed here
  • Guidance for first responders can be accessed here, and identifys first responders as professionals and members of voluntary organisations who, as part of their normal roles, provide immediate assistance to a symptomatic person until further medical assistance arrives.
  • Guidance for employers, employees and businesses in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 can be found here
  • Residential care, supported living and home care guidance - information can be found here.
  • Guidance for hostel or day centres for people rough sleeping can be accesed here.
  • Guidance for local government including; the announcments of £2.9 billion funding, framework for local authorities to support the planning and organisation of the outbreak as well as further guidance. This can be accessed here.
  • Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK: Guide for Supporting Migrants During Coronavirus can be sourced here
  • Student Action for Refugees (STAR) have put together a document containing how to support refugees and asylum seekers at this time. It can be accessed here.

Regional Activity:

[added 05.06] 
  • Derby City's virtual activity for Refugee Week - Refugee Week is from 15-21 June 2020 and is still going ahead in Derby. Please see this leaflet here about the digital events that are hapenning in Derby.
[added 28.05] 
  • Derby City - The Derby Refugee and Asylum Seeker Coordination (RASC) Meeting have updated the current status of organisations due to COVID-19. Click here to access.
[added 15.05] 
  • Nottingham City Nottingham-based charity Refugee Roots are responding to the impact of Covid 19 on refugees and asylum seekers in Nottingham. They are providing the following support services in response to Covid 19 including: phone support (information, advice and guidance), telephone Befriending (weekly support), telephone English Lessons (one to one), virtual English Lessons (Groups), food drops (in partnership with local foodbanks), social groups and Art at home. For more information, or to be involved, click here.

Training:

[added 01.06] 
  • FREE Online training for teachers working with migrants and refugees of all ages and levels-  British Council are hosting a three-hour self-study training module, which is divided into three one-hour units. It's aim is to see how a basic understanding of trauma and its effects in the classroom can benefit the teaching and learning process. Click here for more information.
  • IOM UK - Free online webinar on Engaging Migrant Communities in the Context of COVID-19: Lessons from the Field - due to the overwhelming response to the first training. IOM are hosting a series of further webinars on this topic. There are five additional webinars starting from 10th June. Click here for more information on the webinar and how to register.
[added 29.05] 
  • NATECLA training session on remote teaching with little or no techonology - on 4 June 2020 from 15:00 to 16:15.  In this session, Judy and Sylvia will be discussing the many issues which have arisen around teaching ESOL remotely to learners. They will address the problem of digital exclusion then look at positive ways of working in lockdown and beyond, by, for example, using smartphones or working remotely with no technology. The cost of the webinar is £5 for NATECLA members. £25 for non-members. Book and pay for your place here.
[added 28.05] 
  • United Nations e-learning courses - are freely available covering lots of different areas including the different areas IOM work on as well as lots more. Click here to access.
[added 22.05] 
  • Free IOM Syrian Cultural Orientation Session - is being hosted by IOM on Wednesday 3rd June at 2pm. To find out more information, or to book on, please email Hannah.Smith@emcouncils.gov.uk
[added 15.05] 
  • Free online training on EU Settlement Scheme - Greater London Authority are launching a free complex casework training on the EU Settlement Scheme. Delivered via Zoom by Here for Good’s team of experienced immigration solicitors, these sessions are open to all organisations and individuals across the UK, and will equip caseworkers to effectively support those with complex cases in at-risk groups, including children in care, the elderly, and applicants with criminal records. Designed to complement existing OISC training, these short sessions are a great opportunity for professional development within the sector, and can serve as a basis from which to gain further OISC accreditation if desired. For more information, click here.
[added 11.05] 
  • Engaging Migrant Communities in COVID-19 webinar - The webinar will 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. Click here for more information on how to book on.
[added 06.05] 
  • Coram Children's Legal Centre online training/ webinars- are continueing to offer their training virtually throughout the current pandemic. Their upcoming training on Wednesday 20th May is on the rights and entitlements of young refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children. They also have webinars lined up over the next coming weeks, including a webinar on child victims of trafficking and modern slavery on Wednesday 3rd June. For more information on this course, and information on how to book, click here.
[added 04.05] 
  • Free Online ESOL tutor training - Trinity College London are now offering this short webinar series to explore best practices for working with ESOL learners through a range of free applications and tools in order to deliver effective and successful lessons to learners on mobile devices.  The series will specifically look at lesson delivery for Entry 2 and Level 1 learners, but will offer practical ideas and tips that can be applied across the ESOL core curriculum levels. Sign up here for the Effective Online Teaching : ESOL Learners and mobile devices - Entry 2 on Wednesday 6th May or sign up here for Effective Online Teaching : ESOL Learners and mobile devices - Level 1 on Thursday 7th May. 
[added 21.04]
  • Free Training by RedR UK - which aim to address three important aspects of individual and community responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, including cultural appropriate hygiene promotion, COVID-19 myth busting and how to manage stress. Click here to access the training.
[added 14.04]
  • RESET's weekly virtual drop-in sessions - Wednesday 15th April at 5.30pm will be hearing from Community Sponsorship Groups about how they supported refugee families to navigate the benefits system in the UK. Joining instructions can be found here.
[added 08.04]
  • RESET's weekly virtual drop-in sessions on Zoom every Wednesday at 5:30pm with groups around the UK with opportunities to hear from the expert themselves. The focus will be on a different theme each week. Find more information, a schedule and registration links here.
[added 03.04]
[added 31.03]
  • ECPAT UK have launched FREE online training sessions for professionals who are self-isolating to help build knowledge and capacity to support children who may be victims of trafficking. The first training session was held on Monday and had over 100+ attendees. Future webinars will cover vulnerabilities to exploitation among Vietnamese migrants, safeguarding children at risk of going missing from care, spiritual abuse and statutory defence (section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015). 

Other regions resources:

Other useful websites with resources on COVID-19

If you have any questions or queries in relation to this, please email Hannah.Smith@emcouncils.gov.uk