Where to find help in the UK?

I’m in detention, can UNHCR help me?

Unfortunately, UNHCR is very limited in the help that we can provide to detainees. If you have fully exhausted your application for asylum in the UK and are in detention awaiting removal to your country of origin, we regret that UNHCR is unlikely to be able to assist you at this stage.

Legal advice in detention is limited to certain contracted legal firms, operating under the Detention Duty Advice Scheme. Since late 2018, there have been about 75 firms providing advice sessions in detention centres.

You should be able to book yourself to attend an on-site appointment with a solicitor from inside the detention centre wherein they will ask you about your immigration case and assess whether it is possible to offer you free legal advice. If the solicitor decides not to take your case, you will not need to pay for their advice. Please ask your detention centre for further information.

In addition, Detention Action is a charity that provides free emotional and practical support for people in immigration detention. More information about their services can be found in their website, and they can be contacted at 0800 587 2096. 

Who can assist me with applying for asylum in the UK?

For information on asylum advice, please visit –-  www.gov.uk/government/news/advice-services-for-asylum-seekers-and-refugees-contract-change and – www.gov.uk/one-stop-services.

The following organisations provide non-legal advice to help guide you through the asylum process.

Migrant Help

Refugee Council

For England:

For Scotland: Scottish Refugee Council

For Wales: Welsh Refugee Council – All offices’ Website: http://welshrefugeecouncil.org.uk/

Refugee Action

  • Website: refugee-action.org.uk
  • Address: Refugee Action Head Office, Refugee Action, Victoria Charity Centre, 11 Belgrave Road, London SW1V 1RB
  • Telephone: 020 7952 1511
  • Email: [email protected]

I am an asylum seeker and my application for asylum support was refused. Can someone help me?

You can contact ASAP who may be able to appeal the decision.  They can be contacted on 0203 716 0283, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2pm – 4pm, or through their website.

Financial support

If you are an asylum seeker in the UK, you might be entitled to financial and housing support. You can find more information in the page “Rights and Entitlements”.

Migrant Help can help apply for asylum support.

Website: https://www.migranthelpuk.org/pages/category/asylum

Asylum Helpline: 0808 8010 503

Self-Service Portal: https://ellis.custhelp.com/

Care4Calais is a charity that organises regular distributions to provide shoes, coats, new underwear and clothing, toiletries and sometimes fresh fruit and snacks. You can find more about their work and their contact details at: https://care4calais.org/contact-us/

If you are a refugee in the UK, you might be entitled to benefits in the UK.

Citizens Advice can help you understand if you are entitled to benefits and help you with the application.

Search for your local Citizens Advice: Contact Us.

British Red Cross can also help refugees with counselling and understanding your benefits rights.

Website: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-as-a-refugee

Contact your local refugee service.

In addition:

·       The British Red Cross provides practical support to asylum seekers and refugees. This includes small amounts of cash, food and toiletries. You can Contact your local refugee service.

The Trussel Trust has food banks across the UK. You can find your closest food bank at: Find a Foodbank.  

Employment support

There are different services available in the UK to help refugees find employment, for example you can visit your local Job Centre who may be able to help find a job for you. You can find your closest Job Centre at: Contact Jobcentre Plus: Local Office Search.

In addition, the following organisations help refugees and asylum seekers with the right to work to find employment in the UK:

Breaking Barriers: Offers 1-1- employment and education support. They also work to connect businesses with employers. For information how to get in contact: https://breaking-barriers.co.uk/contact/

Refugee Employment Network: This network contains employment opportunities for Refugees: https://refugeeemploymentnetwork.co.uk/contact-us

Refugee Council: it provides employment preparation and support with preparing work applications. More information is available here: Employment Archives – Refugee Council

Renaisi: helps refugees find jobs. More information about their services is available at: https://renaisi.com/rise/

Education support and scholarships

Student Action for Refugees (STAR)works to create scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers in higher education. They also have a range of resources and support for refugees looking to access university and scholarships. For information on how to contact STAR, their webpage can be found here: https://star-network.org.uk/contact-us/. Their phone number is 0207 697 4130 and email is [email protected]

Refugee Education UKprovides assistance to refugees with access to Higher Education, including information on admissions, student loan and scholarship For more information please visit: https://www.reuk.org/scholarships. Their contact details can be reached at: [email protected] and through the form at the bottom of this page: https://www.reuk.org/contact.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides information and advice for students seeking information on accessing university and funds in the UK. Their Student Advice Line is available at +4420 7788 9214 and is open at the following times:Monday to Friday (except for public holidays): 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time). Website: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information–Advice/Fees-and-Money/Home-or-Overseas-fees-the-basics.

Mental health support

Mind is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. You can contact them at their infoline: 0300 123 3393 and email: [email protected]. You can find your local Mind service here Find local Minds – Mind.

Refugee Council is a leading charity working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. They provide various mental health services that you can consult here: Mental health Archives – Refugee Council.

The British Red Cross supports people from Afghanistan who are in the UK and offer emotional support: Help for refugees from Afghanistan. You can contact their support line:  0808 196 3651 (10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 10 am to 8pm Wednesday).

Barnardo’s support the mental health and wellbeing of adult asylum seekers across the UK through qualified therapists. You can find more information about their services at: Barnardo’s – Asylum seekers.

Housing support

Refugee Council: The Refugee Council offers help with accessing accommodation and accommodation support for refugees and their families in the UK. More information is available at: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/ General Information Support line: 0207 3466 700

Refugees at Home: Connects refugees and asylum seekers with those who have a spare room in their homes. More information is available at: https://www.refugeesathome.org/

Shelter: provides immediate housing for those at risk of destitution and also gives housing advice. More information about their services is found at: https://www.shelter.org.uk/

Family tracing

UNHCR cannot assist with tracing family members. However, the following organisations can help:

The British Red Cross is an organisation which has an international family tracing service—more details on the process can be found here.

The Salvation Army: Provides assistance on trafficking, family tracing and homelessness.

I am a survivor of human trafficking/torture, where can I find assistance?

UK has strong policies against trafficking and modern slavery. The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. More information can be found here.

If you are a victim of trafficking or torture, there are many different charities that will be able to support and assist. A few include:

Salvation Army provide practical help and have a national presence and work in local communities through their 650 churches throughout the UK and Ireland to serve those that most need their help. You can find your nearest Salvation Army here and learn more about their work here.

Nia runs services for women and girls who have been subjected to sexual and domestic violence and abuse, including prostitution. They offer services around London, including in Hackney, Haringey, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Havering, Newham and Brent and Brent. You can find more information about Nia’s services here, and their number is 020 7683 1270.

Hestia provides safe houses and outreach support to victims of modern slavery, domestic abuse, and different disabilities. More information on the type of support they offer can be found here, and information on contacting them can be found here.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need urgent assistance, please contact the Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

I want to return to my home country. What should I do?

If you are considering returning to your country of origin, you can seek advice and assistance from the Voluntary Returns Service at the Home Office to facilitate your return. This service is available for asylum seekers, refused asylum seekers and irregular migrants, but is unavailable to those who are in detention.

Their contact details are:

  • Tel: 0300 004 0202
  • Operating hours: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5:00pm

You may also apply online: https://www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily/apply

Further information can be found on the website: www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily/who-can-get-help

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