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REPORT: The impact of COVID-19 responses on migrants and refugees in the UK

June 2021

by the International Observatory of Human Rights



This report examines the impact of the UK government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response on refugees and migrants. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities in society and emphasized the gaps in the protection of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers. They face greater risks than others, as the lockdown measures have disproportionately affected them. Many migrants, especially those forced to move,[1] are more vulnerable to loss of employment, have only limited access to essential services, and are mostly excluded from the government’s socio-economic support schemes. Furthermore, the fear of the virus and disinformation has led to increased experience of xenophobia and racial discrimination of south and east Asian communities in the UK.[2] Despite providing much of the essential work during the pandemic in the health sector,[3] the care, cleaning and food processing sector,[4] migrants have not received adequate attention from the government to ensure that their basic needs are met, leaving them vulnerable and under-represented.

The main part of this research has been prepared as a submission in June 2021 to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants for his report on the impact of COVID-19 on the human rights of migrants to be presented to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Building on this submission, this report highlights the problems migrants still face as a result of the UK policies and issues recommendations to the UK government in order to improve the situation of refugees and migrants during and after the pandemic.


Access to Healthcare

  1. The public National Health Service (NHS) does not generally charge UK residents for most medical treatment, but it does charge people with insecure immigration status seeking secondary healthcare. Nevertheless, COVID-19-related medical help is free for anyone living in the UK without regular immigration status. The UK Government confirmed that no immigration checks are carried out for COVID-19 treatment, testing or vaccination.[5]
  2. While no NHS number or General Practitioner (GP) registration is required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, only those registered with a GP will be contacted and offered the vaccine. Furthermore, if the person is not registered with a GP practice, they will need an NHS number in order to use the online system to book their vaccination appointment. To receive a NHS number, registration with a GP practice is needed.[6] However, some GP practices simply refuse to register people without proof of address or identity, and other migrants remain fearful of arrest or deportation when seeking registrations with GPs.[7] According to a survey conducted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants between December 2020 and January 2021, 43% of migrants were scared to access healthcare for fear of being charged or having their data shared with the Home Office.[8] This number rises to 81% for undocumented migrants.[9] This fear is mainly to blame on the fact that in the past the NHS was required to report undocumented migrants and people whose asylum application had been refused, and the Home Office was allowed to request patient’s non-clinical information to carry out immigration status checks.10 This policy of data-sharing is still in place, the current exemption only applies to the access of COVID-19 healthcare.
  3. This mistrust goes so far that some undocumented migrants are anxious about seeking medical help because they suspect that support initiatives have been introduced to identify and deport them.[11]
  4. Hence, although undocumented migrants are entitled to receive the vaccine without needing to proof their identity or immigration status according to government guidelines, many encounter difficulties when accessing vaccination appointments. This is a result of the hostile environment previously created to deter and control illegal immigration,[12] and the current lack of awareness in both the healthcare system and the migrant communities of the exemptions around COVID-19 related health services.
  5. The vaccination programme is being delivered according to priority groups based on their age and vulnerability to COVID-19, and prioritizes residents in care homes, frontline health and social care workers, and clinically vulnerable people. At the moment, the UK government is considering introducing compulsory vaccinations to all care home workers working with adults. This could affect around 1.5 million people working in social care in England, who would lose their jobs if they do not manage to get vaccinated within 16 weeks.[13]
  6. A government report reveals that Black and Asian ethnic groups had higher rates of death from COVID-19, and that stakeholders ‘consistently identified vulnerable groups, including […] migrants, […] as being at increased risk throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and even more so in its aftermath.’[14] This conclusion is in line with data from the OECD which verifies that migrants are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.[15] Yet, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants or refugees have not been listed as a priority group for the vaccine.[16]
  7. Among many other UK government’s resources, the guidance on COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination for migrants has been translated into 40 different languages.[17] Additionally, Doctors of the World have translated NHS guidance on COVID-19 in over 60 languages, in partnership with the British Red Cross and with the support of the Mayor of London.[18]
  8. Further barriers to access health care include digital exclusion and the inability to access the internet or a phone, the lack of literacy skills to access basic information and guidelines provided by the government, and health and COVID-19 being less of a priority for people in vulnerable situations.[19]
  9. Asylum seekers and refugees are five times more likely to suffer from complex mental health problems, such as PTSD and other anxiety disorders, while being less likely to receive mental health support than the general population.[20] To provide support and solidarity measures during the pandemic, many organisations assisting refugees and asylum seekers have adapted to working from home and offering their services remotely. For example, the Helen Bamber Foundation offers online therapy service, regular welfare calls, and online creative arts and skill groups to combat social isolation.[21] Similarly, the Refugee Council has continued most of its work online, by providing regular check-ins, online workshops, social activities, as well as phone counselling.[22]

De jure, migrants and their families have access to adequate COVID-19 health care on the same basis as nationals, but de facto they face multiple obstacles.


Immigration Detention

  1. During the lockdown, support within immigration detention stopped and legal and social visits were suspended. Organisations previously providing support were limited to telephone or online communication.
  2. Due to outside pressure on the lack of social distancing in detention facilities,[23] and a legal challenge by Detention Action,[24] hundreds of people were released during the pandemic, resulting in the lowest number of people in immigration detention in the past decade with only 368 people in May 2020.[25]
  3. The cases of every person held in immigration detention were urgently reviewed and the Home Office halted the new detentions of persons liable to administrative removal to 49 countries.[26] Nevertheless, with the end of the initial lockdown, the numbers of people in immigration detention rose to 698 on 30 June 2020.[27]
  4. Immigration detention of children has also been practiced during the pandemic: According to the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID), between January and December 2020, 23 children entered detention in the UK, of which 11 were younger than 16 years of age.[28]

The UK Government’s initially limited migrant’s health risks by releasing people but soon resumed immigration detention, including those of children.


Temporary Changes of Immigration Policy

Extension of Visas

  1. Due to the pandemic, people with visas or temporary immigration status (leaves to remain)[29] that were due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 were allowed to stay lawfully within the UK until 31 August 2020 under the same conditions of their visas but were required to make arrangements to leave the UK by 31 August 2020. This extension is no longer available, but individuals can now request additional time to stay through requesting “exceptional assurance” if they intend to leave the UK but are unable to do so and their visa or leave to remain expires by 30 June 2021.[30]
  2. Moreover, healthcare workers and their dependents, whose visas expire between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, may be eligible for a free visa extension for another year.[31]
  3. Migrants who left the UK with a valid leave to remain before 17 March 2020 and were unable to return due to coronavirus travel restrictions or are unable to return to the UK to make their applications because their current leave has expired abroad, can request “Leave to Remain” (LTR) or “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR) online through the Covid Visa Concession Scheme until 21 June 2021. Additionally, absence from the UK as a result of the pandemic does not count as a break in continuous residence.[32] Migrants with LTR or ILR who have been absent from the UK for over 2 years on or after 24 January 2020 and were unable to return to the UK due to the pandemic travel restrictions, can apply under the Returning Resident visa route to return to the UK.[33]
  4. Visas for Family Reunification were not issued at the beginning of the pandemic but resumed once VISA Application Centres reopened. In June 2020, the Home Office decided to replace 30- day visas that have lapsed or were about to expire with 90-day visas until the end of the year.[34]

Absences due to Coronavirus

  1. Migrants applying to enter or remain in the UK based on family or private life will have no adverse immigration consequences if they shortly break their continuous residence between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021.[35]
  2. Similarly, migrants under the EU Settlement Scheme can be absent for up to 12 months for an important reason, which includes reasons relating to coronavirus, without breaking their continuous qualifying period. If the absence period exceeds 12 months, the individual needs to provide evidence that this extended absence was because coronavirus prevented them from returning to the UK within 12 months to not break the continuous qualifying period, but the time spent abroad exceeding 12 months will not be counted towards the qualifying period. Furthermore, coronavirus also provides an exception for being abroad a second time after already being absent for 12 months.[36]

Asylum Process

  1. Due to the pandemic, changes have been introduced to the asylum process in the UK. Vulnerable cases, e.g. where applicants are at risk of destitution as a result of the decision, have been on hold, and decisions can now be served per email. The Home Office has suspended the requirement to attend the Further Submission Unit in Liverpool in person to lodge further submissions and fresh claims, which can now be made by post or online.[37]
  2. Since 18 March 2020, in-person substantive asylum interviews have been paused and since the end of June 2020, remote video-interviews have been in place. Similarly, appeals are determined remotely, either on the papers or by telephone. Immigration reporting has been suspended for many people during the initial lockdown period, but some reporting centres resumed their activities on 20 July 2020.[38]

At the beginning of the pandemic, immigration rules were temporarily eased due to the travel restrictions, but no additional regularization pathways for migrants have been introduced in the UK due to COVID-19.


Public Welfare

  1. The Basic Universal Credit Welfare payments increased by £20 per week in April 2020 – and this increase is due to be in place until September 2021,[39] while Asylum Support increased only by £1.75 per week in June 2020, and then by an additional 3p per week in October 2020.[40] People seeking asylum are not allowed to work and are dependent on the governmental support provided to them, which proved to be difficult during the pandemic since this financial support cannot be spent online and asylum seekers were forced to spend money in more expensive shops nearby, or to choose between food and access to the internet.[41] Moreover, asylum support is paid weekly, which forces people to go shopping more frequently, and to different places as they are unable to stock up and are thereby prevented from minimising social contact.[42]
  2. The majority of non-EEA national migrants with temporary permission to stay in the UK have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), since their visa condition prevents them from accessing benefits, tax credits and housing assistance. This also includes undocumented migrants and people whose asylum request was refused.[43] However, these migrants are most likely to be affected by the pandemic: Firstly, they are less likely to safely isolate themselves in their homes, and secondly, they are more likely to be financially impacted as they work in frontline industries, such as hospitality, accommodation, retail and cleaning.[44] According to a survey conducted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, 21% of migrants had lost their jobs in March 2020.[45]
  3. Migrant survivors of sexual and gender-based violence with NRPF status were not eligible for emergency accommodation, which forced them to either remain in an abusive relationship or to choose homelessness and sofa surfing.[46]
  4. Certain state-funded support is available to temporary migrants with NRPF,[47] such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme – but both of them are not inclusive of all migrants and people seeking asylum, since they do not cover undocumented migrants or people working in the informal ‘grey’ economy.[48]

The UK Government has failed to adopt a COVID-19 socio-economic response and recovery plan that adequately addresses the human rights of migrants. No additional support mechanisms have been introduced by the Government to ensure that all migrants can access state support or to minimize the impact of COVID-19 responses on the most vulnerable.


Right to Housing

Private Accommodation

  1. Despite evidence that landlords are less likely to rent to non-British passport holders and court rulings determining the right to rent scheme as racial discrimination against foreign nationals, the government did not suspend the current scheme, which allows landlords to check tenants’ immigration status. As a result, migrants, and in particular undocumented migrants, have been forced into irregular, overcrowded and dangerous living situations.[49]
  2. The Coronavirus Act 2020 provided protection to tenants by introducing a ban on evictions from private rented accommodation, which was in force until 20 September 2020. Repossession actions in the courts started on 21 September 2020 in England and Wales but were limited due to local lockdown measures. With the new national restrictions in England in November 2020, the enforcement of repossession orders by bailiffs was again generally banned from 17 November 2020. This ban ended on 31 May 2021 in England and similar bans are still in place in Scotland until 30 September 2021 and in Wales until 30 June 2021.[50] According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, around 400,000 renting households have either been served eviction notices or have been told they may be evicted after the eviction ban in England has ended.[51]
  3. Additional protection was also provided through extended notice periods: Between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, a three months’ notice period was generally required in England before landlords could start possession proceedings. This period extended to six months between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021. Since 1 June 2021, the notice period has been reduced to four months, and from 1 August 2021, the period will be reduced to two months in cases where there are less than four months’ rent arrears. These four and two months’ notice periods will be in place until 30 September 2021.[52]
  4. Emergency accommodation was provided by the Councils to nearly 15,000 people who were rough sleeping or otherwise unable to comply with self-isolation requirements,[53] many of whom were migrants without recourse to public funds or European nationals not eligible for support.[54]

Asylum Accommodationpage9image58284992

  1. In March 2020, it was decided that evictions from asylum support accommodation would be suspended,[55] which protected almost 50,000 asylum seekers from homelessness and destitution.[56] After almost a year, at the end of April 2021, the Home Office started to review cases again and planned to resume cessations of support, including evictions from asylum accommodations.[57] However, due to a court order in May 2021 following a legal challenge to the Home Office’s policy,[58] no evictions will currently be carried out until step 4 in the pandemic roadmap, which has been postponed to at least July 2021.
  2. The British government has been widely criticised for the use of the Napier Barracks to house asylum seekers throughout the pandemic – risking migrants’ right to health, denying basic services and the right to adequate housing. The barracks saw up to 28 migrants sharing dormitories, despite Public Health England advising the government that they ‘[didn’t] know how dormitories [could] be COVID compliant.’[59]
  3. Newly published letters to the Home Affairs Committee by Public Health England and Public Health Wales show health officials advised single rooms with single bathrooms was necessary to make the site COVID secure.[60] In February 2021, Matthew Rycroft CBE, Permanent Secretary for the Home Office told the Home Affairs Committee:Just to clarify, Public Health England did not say it would be completely inappropriate. In fact, they give us advice on how to make dormitory-style and other shared accommodation covid-safe. It is that advice which we have followed to the letter.[61]
  4. In January 2021 alone, there were 178 positive COVID-19 tests in the Napier Barracks,[62] out of approximately 380 people.[63]
  5. In June 2021, a High Court ruling found the accommodation failed to meet minimum standards. The Court also ruled that ‘the home secretary’s process for selecting people to be accommodated at the site was flawed and unlawful. It also found that residents of the barracks were unlawfully detained under purported COVID rules.’[64]
  6. Furthermore, Kent County Council has recently announced for the second time during the pandemic that they are at capacity and cannot house any more unaccompanied child refugees. As a result, they are now forced to temporarily stay in the Home Office’s Intake Unit in Dover, a short-term detention facility with no access to open air and very limited natural light. More than 25% of the children were held for more than a day and one minor was held for more than 66 hours.[65]

Despite successful efforts to protect private tenants during the lockdown, with the continuing Right to Rent scheme, migrants are still vulnerable in the housing sector. Moreover, the UK government has not taken the needs and security of people in asylum accommodation seriously.


Right to Education

  1. During the pandemic, schools and universities stopped in-person learning and moved to online teaching platforms. Many young refugees did not have access to laptops or adequate internet connection at home to continue their education.[66] According to Ofcom, it is estimated that up to 1.78 million children in the UK had no access to a laptop, desktop or tablet before the pandemic.[67] As of June 2021, the government has provided over 1.3 million free laptops and tablets, and almost 640,000 wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils.[68] However, the rollout of this programme was very slow: The first device was only dispatched on 18th May,[69] two months after schools closed in the UK,[70] and at the end of August 2020 only 220,494 devices and 50,984 routers were delivered or dispatched.[71]
  2. Young refugees especially had problems with online learning in a second or third language, as they could not rely on the English-language knowledge and technical skills of their parents. Additionally, Refugee Support Network reported that no young person under the care of local authorities was able to continue attending school or colleges, despite announcements to keep schools open for looked-after children.[72]



The UK has the primarily responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of migrants and refugees according to Articles 2 and 13 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 14 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its Protocol No. 4 and No. 7, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers. In this regard, IOHR recommends the UK government to take the following actions:

  1. Abolish the NHS data-sharing with the Home Office and raise public awareness in appropriate language variations of free and safe healthcare services available during the pandemic: Access to healthcare should not be restricted by immigration enforcement, and a firewall should be established to this extent.
  2. Immediately cease the immigration detention of children, and release people detained under immigration powers to reduce migrants’ risks of contracting COVID-19.
  3. Expand pathways to regularise the legal status of people without visas or leave to remain at least until the end of the pandemic, to enable them to work and access social security systems.
  4. Either suspend the current conditions for accessing public funds or introduce additional benefits to combat poverty, destitution, and insecure employment among NRPF migrants, especially those surviving violence.
  5. Increase Asylum Support Rates in line with Universal Credit, and lift the restrictions on the online use and taking out of cash of Asylum Support through the Aspen Card.
  6. Ensure that socio-economic policies are inclusive of all migrants and guarantee the access of all migrants to basic services, such as healthcare, housing, food, water, sanitation, education, and social security.
  7. Suspend and revoke the Right to Rent Scheme, which enables racial discrimination against migrants and refugees.
  8. Immediately cease the use of Napier Barracks to house asylum seekers and provide safe housing for people in the asylum system in line with health guidelines on COVID-19.
  9. Work together with NGOs, the civil society and local humanitarian organizations and enable them to provide support to all migrants, including medical services, community health, protection from violence, access to internet, education, and livelihoods support.
  10. Create a robust set of work plans, based on all the learning from this pandemic, on what to do next time to ensure that the most vulnerable are not disadvantaged in the future. Ensure that these plans are stress tested, trained in, and fit for purpose.



[1] Forced migrants are those who are displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations.

2 The rate of hate crimes against Chinese people in the UK in the first three months of 2020 was almost three times higher than that of the previous two years (David Mercer, ‘Coronavirus: Hate crimes against Chinese people soar in UK during COVID-19 crisis’ (5 May 2020) Sky News. Available at: In June 2020, Anti-Asian hate crimes had already increased by 21% (Jamie Grierson, ‘Anti-Asian hate crimes up 21% in UK during coronavirus crisis’ (13 May 2020) The Guardian. Available at:

3 For example, in London almost half of all doctors and two thirds of nurses are migrants. See OECD, ‘COVID-19 and key workers: What role do migrants play in your region?’ (26 November 2020) p. 8. Available at:

4 For the share of immigrants among key workers in the UK, see: Francesco Fasani and Jacopo Mazza, ‘Immigrant Key Workers: Their Contribution to Europe’s COVID-19 Response’ (April 2020) IZA Policy Paper No. 155, p. 32. Available at:

5 Public Health England, ‘COVID-19: Migrant Health Guide’ (17 February 2021, updated 8 June 2021). Available at:

6 NHS, ‘What is an NHS number?’ (10 September 2019). Available at:

7 Allison McCann, ‘Entitled to Vaccines, Undocumented Immigrants in U.K. Struggle for Access’ (30 March 2021) The New York Times. Available at:; PICUM, ‘The COVID-19 Vaccines and Undocumented Migrants in the UK’ (30 April 2021). Available at: A study conducted in 2017 by Doctors of the World revealed that a fifth of GP registrations were refused due to lack of paperwork, such as photo identification, proof of address or immigration status. See Doctors of the World, ‘Registration Refused. A study on access to GP registration in England (2017) Available at:

8 Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, ‘Migrants deterred from healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (February 2021). Available at:

9 Ibid.

10 Doctors of the World, ‘Immigration Enforcement in the NHS’. Available at:

11 Sandra Pertek, and others, ‘Forced migration, SGBV and COVID-19. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on forced migrant survivors of SGBV’ Refugee Women Connect, University of Birmingham, IRiS (May 2020) p. 9. Available at:

12 Kitty Worthing and others, ‘Patients or passports? The “hostile environment” in the NHS’ 8 Future Healthcare Journal (2021) DOI: 10.7861/fhj.2021-0007.

13 Denis Campbell, ‘Covid jabs to become mandatory for care home staff in England’ (15 June 2021) The Guardian. Available at:

14 Public Health England, ‘Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’ (June 2020), p. 31. Available at:

15 According to data from the OECD, there is a significant over-representation of immigrants in the incidence of COVID-19. For example, of the confirmed cases in Sweden between March and May 2020, 32% were immigrants, although they only constitute 19% of the population. See OECD, ‘What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrants and their children?’ (19 October 2020) Policy Response, p. 5. Available at:

16 Department of Health and Social Care, ‘UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan’ (11 January 2021, updated 13 January 2021). Available at:

17 Public Health England, ‘COVID-19: Migrant Health Guide’ (17 February 2021, updated 8 June 2021). Available at:

18 Doctors of the World, ‘Coronavirus advice. Latest government guidance translated into 60 languages’ (February 2021). Available at:

19 Doctors of the World, ‘A Rapid Needs Assessment of Excluded People in England During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic’ (May 2020). Available at:

20 Mental Health Foundation, ‘Fundamental Facts about Mental Health 2016’ (2016,p. 43-44. Available at:

21 Kerry Smith, ‘How we are supporting our clients during Covid-19’ (20 April 2020) Helen Bamber Foundation. Available at:

22 Refugee Council, ‘Refugee Council’s response to Covid-19’. Available at:

23 See V. Chew and others (eds.), ‘COVID-19 Impacts on Immigration Detention: Global Responses’ (2020) International Detention Coalition and HADRI/Western Sydney University, p. 56. DOI: 10.26183/swc5-fv98.

24 Refugee Council, ‘Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19’ (26 May 2021). Available at:

25 Detention Action, ‘Update: Immigration Detention, COVID-19 and where we stand now’ (12 May 2020). Available at:

26 Refugee Council, ‘Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19’ (26 May 2021). Available at:

27 Home Office, ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending in June 2020. Summary of latest statistics’ (24 September 2020). Available at:

28 AVID, ‘Immigration Statistics 2020’ (5 March 2021). Available at:

29 Limited leave to remain describes the immigration status granted to non-UK nationals to enter and stay in the UK for a specified period of time. After a qualifying period of residency in the UK, indefinite leave to remain may be granted.

30 The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents’ (24 March 2020, updated 11 June 2021). Available at:

31 Ibid.

32 Home Office, ‘Covid Visa Concession Scheme (CVCS): where leave expires while the holder is overseas and unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19’ (25 January 2021). Available at:

33 The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents’ (24 March 2020, updated 11 June 2021). Available at:

34 Refugee Council, ‘Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19’ (26 May 2021). Available at:

35 The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents’ (24 March 2020, updated 11 June 2021). Available at:

36 The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): EU Settlement Scheme – guidance for applicants’ (15 December 2020, updated 10 June 2021). Available at:

37 Refugee Council, ‘Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19’ (26 May 2021). Available at:

38 Ibid.

39 BBC News, ‘Universal Credit: How long will the 20£ increase last?’ (3 March 2021). Available at:

40 British Red Cross, ‘The Longest Year. Life under local restrictions’ (2021) p. 24. Available at:

41 Ibid. p. 23-24.

42 Freedom from Torture, ‘Joint-letter on increasing asylum support rates in response to the Covid-19 crisis’ (3 April 2020). Available at:

43 People with insecure immigration status or who are subject to immigration control (Section 115 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999) are restricted from accessing public funds. See Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab, ‘Locked down and left out? Why access to basic services for migrants is critical to our COVID-19 response and recovery’ Report from 2021, p. 15. Available at:

44 Zoe Gardner, ‘Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds’ Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants(March 2021). Available at:

45 Ibid.

46 Sandra Pertek, and others, ‘Forced migration, SGBV and COVID-19. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on forced migrant survivors of SGBV’ Refugee Women Connect, University of Birmingham, IRiS (May 2020) p. 13. Available at:

47 Melanie Gower, ‘Coronavirus: Calls to ease No Recourse to Public Funds conditions’ House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper No. CBP 8888, 27 April 2020, p. 3. Available at:

48 HM Revenue and Customs, ‘Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ (26 March 2020, updated 20 May 2021) available at:; ‘Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’ (26 March 2020, updated 2 June 2021) available at:

49 The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, ‘Evidence for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ (March 2021). Available at:

50 Wendy Wilson, ‘Coronavirus: Support for landlord and tenants’ (19 May 2021) House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper No. 08867 (19 May 2021). Available at:

51 Grace Hetherington, ‘As 400,000 renters face eviction, JRF warns the UK risks a “two-tier recovery”’ (31 May 2021) Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Available at:‘two-tier-recovery’.

52 Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, ‘Guidance for landlords and tenants’ (28 May 2021). Available at:

53 NRPF Network, ‘Covid-19 and “everyone in”’. Available at:

54 Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab, ‘Locked down and left out? Why access to basic services for migrants is critical to our COVID-19 response and recovery’ Report from 2021, p. 26. Available at:

55 Letter from Chris Philp MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Immigration Compliance and the Courts from 27 March 2020 to the Red Cross. Available at:

56 Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab, ‘Locked down and left out? Why access to basic services for migrants is critical to our COVID-19 response and recovery’ Report from 2021, p. 26. Available at:

57 Refugee Council, ‘Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19’ (26 May 2021). Available at:

58 Diane Taylor, ‘Home Office drops plan to evict thousands of migrants during pandemic’ (25 May 2021) The Guardian. Available at:

59 Letter from Public Health England on asylum accommodation at Napier Barracks, dated 1 June 2021 (2021). Available at:

60 May Bulman, ‘Home Office ignored public health warnings when placing asylum seekers in non-Covid compliant barracks, documents reveal’ (June 2021) The Independent. Available at:

61 Home Affairs Committee: Oral evidence: The work of the Home Secretary, HC 561. (2021). Available at:

62 Home Affairs Committee: Oral evidence: The work of the Home Secretary, HC 561. (2021). Available at:

63 Jamie Grierson, ‘Report condemns Home Office failures at barracks used to house asylum seekers’ (23 April 2021) The Guardian. Available at:

64 Diane Taylor, ‘Calls to close Napier barracks after asylum seekers win legal case’ (3 June 2021) The Guardian. Available at:

65 BBC News, ‘Concerns for child migrants as Kent County Council hits capacity’ (15 June 2021). Available at:

66 Refugee Support Network, ‘COVID-19 crisis: emerging impact on young refugees’ education and wellbeing in the UK’ (23 April 2020) Policy Brief. Available at:

67 Simone Vibert, ‘Children without internet access during lockdown’ (18 August 2020) Children’s Commissioner. Available at:

68 Government UK, ‘Laptops and tablets data. Week 24 2021’ (15 June 2021). Available at:

69 Department for Education, ‘Devices and 4G Wireless Routers Data as of 27 August’ (2020) p. 4. Available at:

70 BBC News, ‘Coronavirus: UK schools, colleges and nurseries to close from Friday’ (18 March 2020). Available at:

71 Department for Education, ‘Devices and 4G Wireless Routers Data as of 27 August’ (2020) p. 4. Available at:

72 Refugee Support Network, ‘COVID-19 crisis: emerging impact on young refugees’ education and wellbeing in the UK’ (23 April 2020) Policy Brief. Available at:


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The International Observatory of Human Rights is a UK based independent, non-profit NGO dedicated to championing human rights across the globe.

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