For almost 30 years Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit has been supporting people subject to immigration control.

We offer the following services to the communities in Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

I am on the 10 year route and have leave based on my family circumstances. I was working but now I’ve lost my job and I have ‘no recourse to public funds’.

You need to make an application to have the restrictions on your access to public funds lifted. You can only do this if you can show that you have minimal income and have no savings.

This is on an online from which you is available on https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk

Most of the Home Office has shut down because of the crisis so it is possible that it will take some time for a decision to be made on any application.

I was given 5 years leave as a refugee and I have to apply for indefinite leave in the next month.

You have to make an online application before your visa finishes. This situation has not changed. This is a free application and the form is available at https://gov.uk

You will need an email address and you will be asked to verify your email address when you first start. You can also go back to the form via the email at any time before you submit it so you can make changes. The form asks for your personal details, the places you have been living at for the last 5 years, details of your Biometric card and travel document ( if you have one) and your national insurance number. The form also allows you to put your family dependants on it and asks for the same information about them.

After you have made your application you will be referred to another website to make an appointment. This appointment is to hand your documents in and also have your biometrics taken. You will find however that there will be no appointments available until you get an email asking you to make an appointment. This could be some time after your application has been submitted.

Once you get this email you need to log into this website again and make sure that you look for free appointments which will only be available towards the end of the appointment list dates. You will have more success if you try to make the appointments early in the morning as only a limited number of free appointments are made available.

You should also upload the documents requested before you go to your appointment.

I was working and supporting my spouse (husband or wife) who is on a visa with no recourse to public funds. I’ve lost my job because of the coronavirus outbreak. Can I apply for benefits? What do I say about my spouse?

You can apply for benefits as the restriction to benefits only stops your spouse wife from claiming in her own name. You should tell them what her status is. An application for benefits by you will not affect her current visa.

If your spouse’s visa is due to expire soon you need to seek advice about the extension application.

I’m a refugee and I want to apply to bring my spouse and children to the UK. What do I do and how will my application be affected by the coronavirus epidemic?

An application for entry has to be made by your family abroad, through the UK visas service. Visa Application Centres closed due to Covid-19, but they are now reopening. Check these links to see which ones are open: https://uk.tlscontact.com and https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk.

I claimed asylum but it was refused and I am destitute. Can I apply for asylum support now that I can’t return to my country of origin?

Yes. The law says that a failed asylum seeker who is either ‘taking all reasonable steps to leave the United Kingdom’ or ‘is unable to leave the United Kingdom by reason of a physical impediment to travel’ and ‘ is destitute’ is entitled to section 4 NASS support. The Home Office have accepted that they cannot send people back to their country. There is also clearly no way for someone to go back by themselves.

Failed asylum seekers should therefore be entitled to section 4 support and should apply. It is likely that the home office will refuse such applications as they have not introduced a policy to take account of the current situation. Anyone refused should appeal as some judges clearly understand what the real situation is and are allowing appeals.

I have claimed asylum and need a legal representative.

Legal representatives are still taking on cases so you should still contact them to see if they can take your case. The Home Office has now resumed interviews for people who have claimed asylum. They are happening remotely, through videolink, for people living near VFS locations.

I’m here on a spouse visa with no recourse to public funds. I am suffering domestic violence. What can I do to escape?

There is scope within the Immigration rules for someone who leaves their spouse because of domestic violence to obtain permanent stay. This only applies to someone who has status on the basis of a relationship to either a British Citizen or a person with permanent leave to remain.

You also need to have left your partner before your visa expires, and need to have some objective proof (e.g police report/ doctor/refugee letter) to confirm that there has been Domestic Violence.

If you have no income or savings then the first step is to make a Destitute Domestic Violence Concession application. This is an online application and is dealt with in a matter of days. You don’t have to send any proof of Domestic Violence, as all the Home Office check is whether your status is on the basis of a relationship with a British partner or someone with permanent leave to remain. They will require your partner’s full name, date of birth and the address where you were living with them, plus your details and details of your visa.

If this all checks out, then you will be granted 3 months’ status with access to public funds. You have to make the full Domestic Violence application within those 3 months. The form is available here.

It can also be found by googling ‘DDV concession form’, and it can be sent by email to DomesticViolence2@homeoffice.gov.uk

I have 10 year status as a parent or partner which is about to run out. What do I need to do?

You have to make an application in the month before your visa finishes. The application is online and you can access it here.

The fee for the application is £2013 per person. This includes £1000 for the Immigration Health Surcharge. This is paid via this website.

You will get a IHS number after payment which is needed for the actual application.

There is a provision for applying for a fee waiver. This is granted to those with minimal income and no savings. You will have to provide the Home Office with 6 months’ statements of all your accounts, and they will check the accounts thoroughly to see what money you are getting in and what money you are spending. They will also check to see if you have any other accounts and can refuse if bank statements for all accounts have not been sent in.

You apply for a fee waiver by clicking onto the fee waiver link at the top of the application form linked above. Your current status is protected as long as the fee waiver application goes in before your visa expires.

The Home Office will then make a decision on your fee waiver application first. If it is granted you are given 10 working days to make the full application.

Our team specializes in providing expert legal advice and representation on all issues of immigration, nationality, asylum and human rights. We provide outreach services to people in detention who are facing deportation, and dedicated services for people who are particularly vulnerable (victims of torture, trafficking, rape and domestic violence, and children).

All our immigration caseworkers and solicitors are accredited by the Law Society and maintain an up to date knowledge of all aspects of immigration and asylum law and practice.

We represent people at every stage of the legal process. We also, where necessary, instruct expert counsel to represent our clients. We are committed to challenging discrimination and encouraging and promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures.

GMIAU is regulated by the OISC, Registered No: N201000004

Manchester

During the Covid-19 emergency the drop-in is closed. Please ring 0161 740 7722 and we will be our very best to help you.

GMIAU
1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall Green
Manchester, M8 4QS
Tel: 0161 740 7722
Fax: 0161 740 5172
Email: info@gmiau.org

Liverpool

GMIAU has two offices in Liverpool, providing asylum legal advice and representation. Access to the services at the Liverpool offices is by appointment only.

To contact the GMIAU office directly, phone 0161 740 7722 and we will put you through to the relevant Liverpool office.

Merseyside Law Centre
1st Floor, 35-37 Bold Street
Liverpool L1 4DN

Asylum Link Merseyside
St. Anne’s Centre
7 Overbury Street
Liverpool L7 3HJ

Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA) was set up in October 2004 by Tony Openshaw who had previously worked for the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. In 2015 Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit took over the running of the organisation. The project continues to provide support, advocacy and advice for asylum seekers whose applications have been refused and fully determined, and whose status renders them homeless and destitute.

We aim to protect people’s rights to housing and food and lift people out of poverty while also giving advice about rights and other sources of support to enhance wellbeing. We offer the following support:

  • Application for asylum support (formerly NASS)
  • Asylum support appeals
  • Applications for extra payments for children and exceptional needs
  • Help to find legal aid solicitors
  • Help with healthcare (registering with GP, challenging NHS fees, applying for NHS fee exemption)
  • Referrals to homeless charities, welfare charities and social services
  • Referrals for food parcels
  • Signposting to organisations to help with status housing and benefit advice

During the Covid-19 emergency we are advising people by telephone.

Important news: If you are in Serco/asylum support accommodation and you receive a refusal of your asylum claim you do not have to leave your accommodation.

If you are destitute and unable to return to your country of origin because of the crisis you can apply for Section 4 support.

Contact 0161 740 7722 or email joe@gmiau.org

We accept referrals from individuals and partner organisations.

Asylum Support Housing Advice
The Jain Centre, 669 Stockport Road,
Manchester
M12 4QE
Tel: 0161 740 7722
Fax: 0161 227 8585
Email: joe@gmiau.org

Our Young People’s Support Worker offers support and advocacy to young people who would benefit from support with practical issues such as:

  • Accessing specialist services
  • Accessing education
  • Attending appointments and interviews
  • Communicating with other professionals
  • Advocating for their rights and entitlements
  • Age assessments
  • Finding a solicitor

We also run the All4One group which is a safe social space for children and young people between the ages of 13 and 21 who are seeking asylum or have been trafficked, and are living on their own in Manchester. The group meets monthly on a Saturday for fun activities, trips and events. The group is a great place to meet other young people, make friends, have fun, build confidence and get to know Manchester.

For the All4One group and for additional support for young people please contact referrals@gmiau.org, or ring 0161 740 7722.

We can provide training for social workers, foster parents, commissioners and others about the immigration process, including asylum law and procedures. For further details please contact referrals@gmiau.org or ring 0161 740 7722.

We provide support to women with insecure immigration status and who are at risk and vulnerable to violence, danger and/or exploitation. We want women to access support, advice and advocacy to leave the situation they are in and secure a place of safety. Women who have insecure immigration status often have “no recourse to public funds” or believe they do, and are at risk of domestic violence, trafficking, forced labour, and other forms of gender based violence.

As part of our Safer Lives project, we produced the following resources: a database of support services in Greater Manchester (and some national services), and a leaflet titled ‘Supporting women at risk of violence and abuse with no recourse to public funds: A Practitioner’s Guide’. Download them below.

In April 2013 the government changed the law in relation to funding for refugee family reunion cases, and the project was set up in response to these cuts. We are committed to making sure that refugees can assert their right to family reunion and will do so in whatever ways we can.
The purpose of this project is to assist refugees and those who have been granted humanitarian protection to be reunited with their families in the UK. This project aims to help refugees to prepare their own application, with volunteers providing assistance.

If you thinking of coming to the Manchester drop-in advice service on Tuesday morning, please make sure to bring the following:

  • All documents relating to your case
  • Your Passport
  • Letters from the Home Office
  • Anything relating to previous decisions
  • Any evidence you have to support your case
  • Any evidence that you are financially eligible for Legal Help.
  • Evidence of your income, savings, and regular outgoings and living costs which may include recent pay-slips, bank statements, NASS or social services letters.

We accept written referrals for immigration legal advice and representation, from individuals and from agencies.

Please use the Referral Form below. Referrals may only be accepted from the North West of England. We cannot respond to referrals from anywhere else. Written referrals are considered once a week unless the matter is urgent.

Please send the completed form, together with copies of all Home Office and Tribunal decisions to:

Email: referrals@gmiau.org
Fax: 0161 740 5172
Post to: Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 4QS
In person: Call into the office with a completed copy of the referral form together with the necessary documents.