Each of the subjects below expand to provide further information.
Regional Asylum Intake Units
The Asylum Intake Unit (AIU) in Croydon will continue to operate as normal but will additionally be supported by limited operations in Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Cardiff. These new locations will enable asylum seekers to attend appointments without having to travel long distances. For more information click here.
Asylum Support Applications
Asylum seekers are eligible to apply for support, which can be in the form of somewhere to live, a cash allowance or both depending on individual circumstances. Asylum support applications can be made to the Home Office at a screening interview, directly to the Home Office at a later date (full details are here) or via Migrant Help (information is available on their website here or by calling them on 0808 8010 503).
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.
You can find full government guidance here.
AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility Service)
Migrant Help, the AIRE contract provider, have published a service update outlining various changes to the ways they operate in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. You can find the update here. Information on how to contact Migrant Help can be found on their COVID-19 hub here.
The Home Office have issued the following information:
“Many of our applicants travel a long way to have a substantive asylum interview, which can be a lengthy interaction taking several hours. On that basis, we have decided to pause face to face substantive asylum interviews for now. That means we will be cancelling any that are scheduled from 19 March and will not be scheduling any new face to face interviews for now.
In the meantime, we are exploring other ways to find the information we need to make our decisions; digitally, by telephone and by post/ email, for example. We can already interview people digitally from our offices or onsite in other location in some circumstances and are looking for support from digital colleagues to do that in a different way that doesn’t involve us being in one of our offices. On that basis, we hope – availability of staff and applicants allowing – to be conducting those substantive asylum interviews again soon.
We are making every effort to keep the system moving, as we also seek to protect applicants and our staff. Please be assured that we are continuing to make as many decisions as we can where there is enough information to make a decision.”
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: CSUCE@homeoffice.gov.uk
Asylum Support Discontinuations
The Home Office will pause evictions of asylum seekers accommodated under section 95 or section 4 until 30 June 2020, and it will be reviewed after this date.
Those who have received a positive decision on their asylum claim will not be required to leave their asylum accommodation unless they wish to do so, but will be asked to make an application for mainstream welfare benefits – financial support from the Home Office (on the Aspen card) will continue until benefits are in place.
Those who have received negative decision will be able to remain in their asylum accommodation and continue receiving financial support. The Home Office will review these measures at the end of June 2020.
Assisted Voluntary Returns
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), applications for assisted voluntary return are still being accepted but no travel is being arranged. You can apply for help to leave the UK, if you are eligible.