We welcome asylum seekers, refugees and detainees who have fled persecution and danger in their own countries and seek refuge in Oxford and Oxfordshire.

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due to COVID-19 we are running a reduced service FOCUSING on urgent needs & essential support  

If you need help please email: advice@asylum-welcome.org and leave a message with your phone number. 

want to help? please donate here

We also need laptops to support clients’ home learning! please email office@asylum-welcome.org if you can donate one to us.

News

One-year countdown to apply to the EU Settled Status

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


One-year countdown to apply to the EU Settled Status

 

There is still one year to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. EU citizens and their families have one year from today until 30 June 2021 to apply for settled status and Europa Welcome is here to help!

 

Over the last year 872 people accessed our Europa Welcome service at Asylum Welcome. We supported 565 people to apply for settled or pre-settled status. 350 EU citizens who submitted applications with our support received positive decisions from the Home Office.

 

Our remarkable team of eight volunteers includes four OISC EUSS Level 1 qualified volunteers who were all trained and accredited during the last year and four trained to the OISC EUSS L1 are now waiting to be accredited.

 

If you would like our help all you need is your passport/ID and evidence of your residence. If you need help to apply, contact us: europawelcome@asylum-welcome.org and we’ll be more than happy to help you. To find out more, please visit: https://www.asylum-welcome.org/europa-welcome.

 

Late last year a lovely elderly woman who received her settled status with the support of our wonderful Europa Welcome volunteers felt so grateful and pleased that she very generously sent us a donation to thank us for helping her, and as her contribution to support AW helping others. You can read her lovely hand-written note in the image above. It is a lot harder for elderly EEA citizens who might have been living here for a long time never having to worry about their immigration status suddenly finding themselves having to prove their residence to apply to get their status and become legal residents because of Brexit. That is hard for them – and for many of us - to grasp. There is also the issue of difficulty the elderly can have with providing a digital proof of status rather than a residence card. We have found it is disproportionately harder for the elderly to prove their EUSS status online digitally due to age and related health and other problems.

 

For example, another client had lived in the UK since the 70s, having moved over here when she and her British husband got married. She had become quite worried about Brexit and what it would mean, to the point where she was having sleepless nights and anxiety attacks. When she came to see us we discussed her situation and her rights, and established that she had been given ILR shortly after her arrival here. However, she was still concerned about her situation and so we helped her complete and submit her application. When the screen displayed that she would be considered for Settled Status, she began to cry because she was so relieved. She has since been given her Settled Status.

 

Another client was in her 80s, and had moved to the UK in the 1950s. She barely used technology and so she would not have been able to complete the process herself (we posted her the Home Office letter as she doesn't even use email with ease). We explained the process to her, and as she had worked her whole life, there was a good match with HMRC and DWP records. She has since been given her Settled Status, and (as with the client above) commented that it was a weight off her shoulders as she had been worried about her future. She explicitly said that she would not have been able to complete the application without us. She says she is now going to apply for British citizenship.

 

These cases exemplify just how concerned people are about their rights, and combined with an absence of technological knowledge, are but a couple of important reasons these clients came to us needing help. Cases like this highlight our concerns about the lack of a physical document to prove status, as well as the reliance on technology to complete the process: both of these clients are well-established in the UK, they have spent their entire adult lives here, their grasp of language is perfect, and yet without support, they would not have been able to apply and in theory, would have become illegal from July 2021.

 

Please help us spread the word and encourage anyone you may know that still has not applied to EU Settled Status to give us a call and find out how we can help. 

Support for homeless people, including those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

Saturday, June 27, 2020
Asylum Welcome has recently signed two important letters addressed to national and local authorities urging them to commit to providing ongoing shelter and support to all those experiencing or at risk of homelessness during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, and to do so regardless of immigration status. We are also publicly calling on the government to end the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) regime, which exposes many people living in the UK to destitution, including rough sleeping.

Asylum Welcome, in partnership and solidarity with a plethora of local and national refugee organisations, has signed an open letter to local authorities urging them not to evict homeless people with NRPF from accommodation provided through the Covid-19 homelessness response and asking them to call publicly for an end to NRPF.

Nobody should be forced to sleep rough, regardless of their immigration status. Nobody should be forced to leave the country they call ‘home’.

In light of the above, we are asking your local authority to take the following steps:

1. Commit to continuing to support everybody who is, or is at risk of, sleeping rough, and to do so regardless of immigration status

2. Urgently and publicly advocate to central government for the removal of all NRPF restrictions, including those that apply to undocumented migrants and EEA citizens without a qualifying right to reside, to ensure that everyone can access shelter and meet their basic needs during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Provide assurances that homeless people’s data will never be shared with the Home Office without their informed consent and that nobody will be offered ‘voluntary return’ or ‘reconnection’ to their country of origin as a ‘single service offer’.

To read the full letter, please click here.


Asylum Welcome together with British Red Cross also wrote to the Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, Luke Hall, MP to all local authorities in England on 28 May 2020 regarding the next phase of support for rough sleepers during the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the next steps plan that Oxford City Council have been asked to put in place, we request a commitment that this plan will be developed and delivered in partnership with local agencies, and that it supports people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) you are currently accommodating under public health powers, to find sustainable housing options as the government relaxes its lockdown measures.

We are now looking to Oxford City Council to lead the way with an effective next steps strategy for people with NRPF, and to include this in the action plan. Specifically, we ask that the plan: 
 
1. Works in partnership with relevant local actors to ensure that everyone receives relevant independent advice and support to secure suitable longer-term accommodation and sustainable outcomes.

2. Upholds the best interests of people who are medically shielding and enables them to remain in local authority accommodation.

3. Ensures that no-one is evicted without a move-on option and provides people with NRPF as much reasonable notice as possible (at least 12 weeks) to vacate local authority accommodation.

To read the full letter, please click here.

More news…

Events

Lord Mayor's Charity Banquet & Live Music Event

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Cllr Craig Simmons, & Lady Mayoress, Elise Benjamin, cordially invite you to their fundraiser for the Lord Mayor's good causes: Asylum Welcome and Low Carbon Hub

SUNDAY 15 MARCH 2020

The Tree Hotel, 63 Church Way, Iffley, OX4 4EY

4.30pm - Live Music: Optional afternoon warm-up for the young at heart featuring live music from The Mighty Redox inc. special guest appearance from the Lord Mayor himself! "A force of nature, consummate professional rockers and the ultimate party band."

7.00pm - Fundraising Banquet: Sumptuous five-course Indian banquet at the award-winning Aziz Restaurant @ The Tree Hotel. "Fantastic venue, wonderful staff and stunning food." (Tripadvisor Review, January 2020)

Tickets & Further Details

Tickets for the fundraising banquet are £35 each.

The gig is free to attend but a donation of £5 is suggested.

To order tickets, visit https://www.wegottickets.com/event/497751

Dress code: Smart casual.

All proceeds from the event will go to Asylum Welcome & The Lord Mayor's Climate Change Fund. If you are unable to attend but wish to make a donation you can do so via BACS (Account Number 61173455, Sort Code 08-90-38).

If you require further details please call 01865 252414 or email civicoffice@oxford.gov.uk

Händel’s “Messiah” - In celebration of Händel’s birthday

Friday, December 13, 2019

A. Nakanishi Majora Canamus (world premiere)

 

Sunday 23 February 2020, 5:00pm

The Sheldonian Theatre

 

Free entrance with requested £10 donation in aid of Asylum Welcome

 

Free performance of Handel's Messiah with visiting Japanese choir of 100+ singers with the Verdandi Chamber orchestra and professional soloists from UK & Japan. Seats must be reserved in advance (cannot guarantee availability on the day).

 

Info and Tickets: info@timeconcerts.co.uk or at 01749672522

More events…