We have set out below some basic information to provide you answers or signpost you for further information. Please check government websites for up to date information and advice. Always check the links provided, for the most up to date information. Below information correct as of 27/01/2021.
- Contacting Kalayaan
- What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
- Medical information
- Accessing the COVID Vaccine
- Financial support
- Employment Issues
- Housing Problems
- Immigration Policy
- Looking After Your Mental Health At Home
- Other useful sources of information and support
Please note that we are anxious to keep Kalayaan safe for all our service users and for us to continue assisting our clients. Following government advice, we will not have any drop-in appointments at Kalayaan. We are working remotely.
Clients and support organisations can still reach us by telephone and email:
Phone: 0207 243 2942
Please allow us 2-3 working days to respond to your enquiry.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has Coronavirus:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If you have travelled or intend to travel check the governments guidance regarding the rules and restriction which will apply to you:
The only reliable source of medical information is the NHS website:
If you suspect you have Coronavirus or have been in close contact with someone with this condition, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 Coronavirus advice website.
NHS 111 is free for everyone regardless of their status in the UK. This service can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.
The government has confirmed there will be no charge made for testing and treatment of those with Coronavirus. There will also be no immigration checks to access treatment for Coronavirus:
Doctors of the World have provided some helpful information in different languages:
Overstayer / undocumented
You can access emergency medical treatment from the NHS. Treatment at the Accident and Emergency Department is always free.
Victims of Trafficking – Positive Reasonable Grounds Decision, Discretionary Leave, Limited Leave to Remain after a positive Conclusive Grounds Decision.
You have full access to the NHS and can access emergency medical treatment.
Registering with a GP
Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, has the right to register with a GP.
You do not need to have an identity document or proof of address to register with a GP in the UK.
The following link provides information regarding how you register with a GP:
How to register with a GP surgery – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
The following link sets out what information a GP surgery needs to register a new patient:
If you have any difficulties registering with a GP the following can be printed, as it states your rights and explains you might need some extra help to register: Digital_GP_Access_Card.pdf (doctorsoftheworld.org.uk)
Accessing the COVID Vaccine
The government has stated that Covid-19 vaccines offered by the NHS will be freely available to everyone, regardless immigration status, and a patient is not required to prove their entitlement to free NHS treatment when accessing covid19 vaccination services.
The government has told the NHS trusts in England to ensure “patients that are known to be undergoing testing and treatment for COVID-19 only are not subject to Home Office status checks” so that migrants are not deterred from seeking treatment for Covid19.
In England, to receive a vaccine, individuals need to have been allocated an NHS number and be registered with a GP surgery. Anyone who is not currently registered at a GP surgery will not be identified as eligible for the vaccine and therefore will not be invited to receive the vaccine, so if you are not yet registered with a GP, please do so without delay. When you register with a GP you will be allocated an NHS number.
Everyone is eligible to register with a GP and receive primary care services free of charge, regardless of immigration status. You do not need to have an identity document or proof of address to register with a GP in the UK.
No recourse to public funds attached to your leave in the UK
If you are told by a doctor to self-isolate and are employed (working legally), earning more than £118 per week, you can apply for Statutory Sick Pay. See below link to the Statutory Sick Pay application. There is also information explaining when you will become eligible for this support, if you are eligible. The criteria may be revised in light of the Coronavirus so please check the DWP website for the most up to date information.
If you can access public funds
The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that people who are prevented from working because of a risk to public health are able to claim universal credit. They may also be entitled to contributory employment and support allowance, which helps with living costs for people who cannot work because of a health condition. See link below, which confirms the position, but also explains that the government policies and process will change to cope with this situation.
Subsistence support as a victim of trafficking
Kalayaan works closely with Hestia to provide support to our mutual clients who are in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and based in London.
Hestia have changed how they offer support to clients, to make their approach COVID secure, whilst attempting to maintain the same level of support. Please contact Kalayaan if you experience any issues with this.
If you are not yet eligible for such support please note that you can approach food banks for food and sometimes, other essentials.
You can also contact your local authority to request emergency support. Each local authority will have a different process for applying for support, and the type of support offered may vary. See below a link to help you find your local authority.
If you have a workplace problem, you can call the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100.
ACAS is an independent public body that provides free and impartial advice to workers and their employers.
The helpline is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm.
More information is available on their website:
You can also try contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centre for employment related advice:
Adviceline: 03444 111 444
Adviceline is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers.
Text relay: 03444 111 445
Or you can chat with an advisor online
An alphabetical list of law centres and contact details can be found on the link below:
If you are experiencing housing problems during this difficult period information can be found on the Shelter website about the protection and rights of people renting. You can also find information about the help available if you are at risk of being made homeless. Please see the link below.
UKVI are issuing updates and changes to immigration systems and procedures in light of Coronavirus.
The below is not an exhaustive list but sets out the measures most relevant to the client group Kalayaan supports.
Domestic worker visa holders
Your rights and entitlements in the UK as an Overseas Domestic Worker will depend on when your visa to come to the UK was issued.
Please check here for further information: http://www.kalayaan.org.uk/for-workers/immigration-rights/
If you have the right to renew your domestic worker visa and plan to remain in the UK and apply to extend your visa, you must continue to do this.
If you intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so and you have a visa or leave that expires between 1 January 2021 and 28 February 2021 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’. You must email your request for an exceptional assurance by emailing email@example.com
Contact details for the Coronavirus Immigration Team and advice to follow can be found in the links below:
If you have overstayed your leave – If your visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 there will be no future adverse immigration consequences if you did not make an application to regularise your stay during this period. However, if you have not applied to regularise your stay or submitted a request for an exceptional assurance you must make arrangements to leave the UK.
If you intend to stay in the UK- If you decide to stay in the UK, you should apply for the necessary permission to stay to regularise your stay. You will be able to submit an application form from within the UK, whereas you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.
You will need to pay the fees and meet all requirements of your visa as normal, except the need to submit the application in your home country.
This is being kept under review. See the link below for further information.
The requirement to report for those who are subject to immigration bail continues:
Attend your reporting appointment as usual unless you or someone you live with has any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or you are self-isolating. Contact your local reporting centre if you cannot go.
Sopra Steria UKVCAS services
These services are fully operational according to the information provided by Sopra Steria.
Screening interviews are taking place across the UK in temporary regional Asylum Intake Units. In person substantive interviews have been paused, however UKVI are offering remote interviews, using video conferencing facilities
On the 5th November the Home Office confirmed that cessations of support/evictions of people with negative decision have now been suspended in light of the nationwide lockdown, pending a review by the Home Office.
The Refugee Council has a full list of updates regarding the asylum process and availability of support for asylum seekers:
Looking After Your Mental Health At Home
The Helen Bamber Foundation has put together some resources for people struggling with their mental health during the pandemic:
Other useful sources of information and support
The Voice of Domestic Workers
FDWA (Filipino Domestic Workers Association)
Unite the Union
Right to Remain