This is a very difficult and worrying time for everyone but even more so for certain groups in society. There are many things about the UK asylum system and life in the UK for refugees or people seeking asylum that could mean they are more at risk during the Covid-19 outbreak.
32,693 asylum applications were made in the UK in 2018-2019, and people are resettled across the UK. Many more are afraid to officially report and make an asylum claim. People seeking asylum are not allowed to work and have to live off around £5 a day. See more in our fact sheet here.
Refugees are often living in an unfamiliar environment, and will have a limited – or no – support network. They are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions and the impact of hostile environment policies means that many find it difficult to access healthcare. Social isolation is also a real issue, and asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population and more than 61% will experience serious mental distress (source).
Given the already serious difficulty many asylum seekers face negotiating day to day life prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, we thought that this information might be useful for Mutual Aid groups who might come across people facing these problems in their communities.
Advice for UK Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups on Refugees & Asylum Seekers This is a live document and a work in progress – please email Student Action for Refugees to add to or amend the document