The Refugee Resettlement Programmes currently operating in the North West include: The Gateway Protection Programme, Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme, Afghan Ex-Gratia Scheme and Community Sponsorship. There is currently a pause on new arrivals for these schemes but support for refugees currently in country continues.
Each of the subjects below expand to provide further information.
UNHCR and IOM joint statement
The Gateway Protection Programme, Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme and Community Sponsorship Scheme are operated by UK Visas and Immigration in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). On 17th March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNHCR and IOM announced a pause on new arrivals to the UK through these resettlement programmes. You can view the full joint statement here.
Refugee Action provide support to refugees resettled in the North West through the Gateway Protection Programme and the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme. You can read how they are responding to the coronavirus crisis here. Refugee Action have released a coronavirus handbook that can be accessed here.
Job Centre Appointments
People receiving benefits do not have to attend Jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020. People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.
Jobcentres remain open, and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
General Register Offices are currently operating with reduced capacity and with government guidance to social distance and stay at home, new parents are advised not to visit them. They can however still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first to ensure that they do not miss out. See full guidance about this change and how to claim here.
Employment and Benefits Support
If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there is a wide range of support available. The DWP Coronavirus hub provides information about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus. You can access the DWP hub here.
It’s a really difficult time for everyone involved in Community Sponsorship. Whether you’ve been preparing your application or whether you’ve recently welcomed a family, the Covid-19 outbreak poses new challenges that none of us anticipated. The Reset team is working remotely to ensure that everyone has the support they need, ensuring that Groups are assisted to continue providing support to refugee families. You can access Reset’s coronavirus information hub here.
Every Mind Matters
Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. Every Mind Matters has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Visit every mind matters here.
Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), a new illness that affects your lungs and airways, here.
Public Health England
Get the latest information from Public Health England about coronavirus here.
Domestic Abuse helplines have had a 700% increase in calls since the start of COVID-19 measures. The government have now announced a £600,000 boost for charities working with victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Click here to find resources that may be useful for resettlement workers supporting families where there is a risk of, or suspected Domestic Abuse. This information is to be used in addition to following your normal domestic abuse procedure.
رمضان مبارك Ramadan Mubarak. This year the observing of Ramadan will be under coronavirus restriction measures. A number of organisations have produced guidance on how Ramadan and Eid can be celebrated whilst observing social distancing or isolation measures. You can find this information here.