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  • Paul M.

The Impact Of Covid19 On Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers are people whose request for protection is yet to be processed by the host country. International law provides that anyone has a right to seek asylum from persecution. Undocumented migrants are people who have spent many years in the UK often building strong ties and family life but have diminished rights. Asylum seekers are already the most isolated and marginalised people in the


UK and things have just gotten a lot worse for them. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CARAG used to organise meetings where we would have a hot meal and chat about anything. We had this safe space where everyone felt welcome, this was the only time for many asylum seekers to have this opportunity to meet and talk with others. In line with lockdown guidance, these meetings have been suspended.


We are trying to use online platforms like Zoom but it has its own challenges. Very few of us can afford phone credit and data to join a meeting. Asylum seekers live on £5.39 per day provided by the government. We are not allowed to work even though many of us want to work and are qualified to work even in essential services which can save lives during this COVID-19 crisis.


A number of asylum seekers with significant mental health issues live together in shared Home Office accommodation where there is limited privacy with no possibility of social distancing, which makes matters worse for their health and wellbeing.


We know of some asylum seekers with physical disabilities who are placed in inappropriate accommodation by the Home Office. We know of some asylum seekers with physical disabilities who are placed in inappropriate accommodation by the Home Office. This is difficult to challenge. The tendency from the Home Office is that asylum seekers should be grateful for what the Home Office provides for them.


We are seeing single mothers who are struggling with childcare in often poor, cramped accommodation. It is hard for them to entertain children in households without a TV, computer or the Internet. Children at home away from school means more money spent on food, electricity and gas. New UK applicants for asylum are placed in initial accommodation which is often in run-down hotels. This is where you don’t get any cash but meals only. These hotels often only give 20 minutes of Wi-Fi per day. Some hotels are charging over £25 a month to use hotel Wi-Fi up to 12 hours a day.


There has been a mushrooming of COVID-19 resilience funds recently which is a positive development. Unfortunately, most funders are looking for registered charities. Grassroots migrant organisations like ours are constituted as community groups which mean we are excluded from such funding. However, some individuals have reached out to us and I am trusting that we will attract more funders who want to help our growing community.

Unfortunately, most funders are looking for registered charities. Grassroots migrant organisations like ours are constituted as community groups which mean we are excluded from such funding.