The information below will help you avoid problems with your immigration status caused by the Coronavrius crisis. It also explains how you can access financial help and support even if your immigration status would normally prevent you claiming benefits. 

If you are looking for immigration and asylum legal advice in Coventry or Birmingham see our service page.

If your visa is about to expire

  • Submit a new application online before your current leave expires. You will not be able to register your biometrics but by lodging the application online in time you avoid becoming an overstayer. Apply online or seek legal assistance.

Asylum

  • If you need to make a new asylum claim call 0300 123 4193. You should be given an appointment to attend in Solihull. We advise you to seek legal advice before doing this.
  • If you normally attend reporting you no longer need to do this until you are notified otherwise.
  • If your asylum claim is either granted or refused during lockdown you will be able to stay in your NASS accommodation at least until the end of June.
  • If you are a refused asylum seeker you can now claim S4 Asylum Support for accommodation and subsistence.
  • You can lodge a fresh claim for asylum by email at [email protected] – but seek legal advice before doing so.

EU Nationals

  • All EU/EEA nationals who arrive here or are living here before December 31 2020, have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom but should register online with the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible and certainly before the end of this year.
  • EU nationals with settled status have an automatic right to access public funds. If you do not have settled status and you are refused benefits contact the Law Centre as we may be able to help you challenge the refusal.
  • Central England Law Centre works alongside other Law Centres in the Law Centres Network to deliver specialist advice to vulnerable EU migrants to apply for settled status. If you need advice and support on EUSS and the rights of EEA nationals then you can contact our helpline on 07507726526. Our helpline is available on:

Mondays - 12:00pm to 13.30pm

Wednesday - 12:00pm to 13.30pm

Thursdays - 12:00pm to 13.30pm

Fridays – 12:00pm to 13.30pm

If you can’t leave when you should

  • If you cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions you can ask for your visa to be extended by submitting an online form to the Home Office.
  • The Home Office has extended leave to 31 May for individuals who are currently unable to return home at the end of their visa, as long as the visa expired after 24 January 2020. This extension will be reviewed and may be extended.
  • If you want to switch to another visa route and would normally need to leave the UK to apply on the new route you may be able to switch visa routes without leaving the UK.
  • Nurses, doctors and paramedics working for the NHS will have their leave to remain and the leave of their family members extended for a further year at no charge, If their current visa expires before the end of October. Others who are working part time for the NHS for example international students, are not restricted in the amount of hours that they do.

Domestic violence

  • If your leave to remain depends on your partner and you have been subjected to domestic violence there is help and advice available. In the first instance please contact the police if you are in danger and for further support contact Coventry Haven on 0800 1114988 or Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid on 0808 800 0028.
  • We can help you apply initially for 3 months’ leave to remain with access to benefits then for indefinite leave to remain so you can stay here permanently without relying on the perpetrator of abuse for your immigration status.

No recourse to public funds

Free school meals – new entitlement:

  • Migrant families with an income of £7400 per year or less are now entitled to claim free school meal vouchers from the children’s school. This applies if you are in on the parent/partner visa routes or if you are a “Zambrano” carer.
  • You can also receive free school meals if you receive s17 support from the local authority.
  • Children of parents who are refused asylum seekers receiving S4 NASS support can also now receive free school meal vouchers.
  • Full details and how to check for eligibility are available on gov.uk