Some migrant groups will face their own set of unique challenges during this time, they may be feeling unsure of their future in this country and struggling to cope with family and loved ones living abroad.
Some will currently be struggling to access the rights they are entitled to or find that they are not eligible for government relief at all, adding to an already stressful situation.
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners are more likely to be employed in frontline roles – whether it’s in the NHS, as care workers, shelf-stackers or bus drivers. This exposure puts them at greater risk of catching the coronavirus in the first place and can cause great anxiety.
Many asylum seekers and refugees are particularly hard hit by the lockdown. Not only are asylum seekers more than five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population, lack of freedom of movement and ability to leave the house may be retriggering for those who may have experienced “locked down” situations before.
Access to healthcare
The Government has issued specific advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients.
It is important to know that no charges will be made in the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). This applies to everyone, including anyone living in the UK without permission:
- 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.
- No immigration checks are required for overseas visitors that are known to be only undergoing testing or treatment for COVID-19.
NHS 111 can help you if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, they have access to translators if you need them.
Translations exist in written format, video format and audio format with easy share button developed by Doctors of the World. You can find them on their website.
A number of key services supporting vulnerable migrant groups, offering advice and guidance, have had to scale back or completely seize their activities. Some specific information and a range of services still available throughout this period can be found below:
Mental health support
Organisations are developing digital support and groups for this period, such as the Refugee Council – for more information, please see here.
Public Health England has translated their 10 top tips on mental health, Every Mind Matters, into a number of different community languages as social media assets. These are suitable for Twitter and Facebook.
If you are a key worker, it is important to look after your mental health. Mental Health at Work has compiled a list of useful resources for those working on the front-line of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Mayor of London has developed an information page on wellbeing during Covid-19 on London.gov.
If you are a migrant or refugee in an abusive relationship, you may face unique issues that make it hard to reach out for help. Imkaan’s directory of services lists a number of specialist services run by and for migrant women.
University of East London (UCL) hosts a Mental Health and Wellbeing Portal for Refugees & Asylum Seekers which enables mental health and social care professionals, community organisations, statutory, international and national third sector organisations and refugees and asylum seekers themselves to easily access information, resources and practical tools in one place.
The BBC provides news coverage in a range of different languages, to find yours go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/ws/languages
Guides on how to use Zoom has been translated into community languages by civil society organisations. The link to the guides can be found here – https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1EaVbPVOEmBd675QvITHgysh_8HmiaGrB
The Government has published guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus (COVID-19). You can read the guidance on their website.
The Mayor of London has developed an information page with specific guidance for non-UK nationals. This page hosts specific information about visas and immigration, the EU Settlement Scheme and more.
Employment & welfare rights
Find out more about the support available if you are a migrant living in the UK:
Government support available to non-UK national residents can be found here.
NHS entitlements of non-UK national residents can be found here.
The Mayor of London has developed an online employment hub to help Londoners understand different employment rights and enforce their rights at work. The guidance is available in a range of different community languages. For specific guidance on your employment rights and coronavirus, visit this dedicated page.
The NRPF Network has produced a factsheet with information for local authorities on support for people with no recourse to public funds; their rights and entitlements and Home Office changes.
For those migrants needing help with shopping, food parcels and other support a London-wide Mutual Aid Group specialising in support for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers has been established.
Translations of Covid-19 information
The Mayor of London is supporting Doctors of the World to translate essential Covid-19 guidance based on NHS and Government health advice and information.
Translations exist in written format, video format and audio format with easy share button. You can find them on their website.
Linguist Aid is a community initiative to connect volunteers who speak a foreign language with local mutual aid groups. It acknowledges the multilingual assets people have so that support can reach those with limited English skills.
Young migrants/ Non-UK Nationals
Children and young people may require additional support throughout this time. Below are services for non-UK nationals with specialist support for children and young people:
Organisations such as Young Roots are developing specialist support for young migrants throughout this period – for more information please see here.
There have been concerns around the use of Zoom and privacy setting. Organisers need to review the privacy setting of the meeting or there is a risk of externals to interfere.