Refugee Voices 

Mrs. TF

Mrs. F registered as a client at Slough Refugee Support (SRS) in March 2017.  She had just been granted Leave to Remain as a Refugee with her baby daughter then aged 14 months.   She had lost contact with her husband whilst they were in Libya fleeing from her country.  He later managed to get to France and they regained contact.  Mrs. F needed help to get her husband to the UK.

She can speak English fairly well but her reading and writing skills are poor.  She was housed in Windsor by Hillingdon Council in a hostel where there was no public transport.  The road to the nearest shopping centre had no side walk so she had to walk on the road with her baby on a pram which was quite dangerous.  The Hostel Manager kept threatening to kick her out of the hostel for non-payment of rent by Hillingdon Council.  Also, the other residents kept opening her letters and some of her letters went missing.

Later, client got a second baby and she needed help to apply for immigration status for the baby in line with the parent.

 

SRS has helped her in the following ways:

Immigration advice

Mrs F and her husband contacted Redcross in France for assistance to re-unite the family.  However, client needed to compile information and documents and send them to France to proof their relationship.

SRS referred her to the nearest Legal Aid Firm of solicitors in Oxford that could take on her case.  SRS assisted the client to compile all the information and documents that were requested and these were sent to the solicitor to enable them make an application for the husband to move to the UK to re-join his family.  SRS helped client to maintain contact with the Solicitor through emails, letters and telephone calls.

When the husband arrived in the UK, SRS in-house Solicitor assisted him to apply for asylum.  However, Hillingdon Council refused to allow the husband to stay with client because he had different immigration status and the Council argued it was the responsibility of Home Office to house him.  SRS helped him apply for asylum support to prevent homelessness and destitution.

SRS Advisers also assisted the whole family apply for Travel Documents mainly for identity purposes and they were both able to apply for bank accounts.

Communication Barrier

Due to her limited English skills, she had to bring all her official correspondence to SRS and Advisers explained the contents of the letters and informed whether or not she needed to take any action.

Social and Welfare matters

One of the SRS Volunteers offered Mrs. F transport (to avoid walking on the road with her baby and putting themselves in danger) whenever she needed to:

  • Do her weekly shopping

  • Attend SRS for advice and information and when she need to contact the solicitors and Hillingdon Council

 

Housing

Her housing problem was mainly due to communication problems between the Hostel Manager and Housing Department in Hillingdon Council.  SRS helped her to resolve the problems by contacting both organisations to clarify matters.  Sometimes she needed to go to the Housing Department in person and SRS helped her with travel costs.  SRS advocated for her to be moved from the Hostel because of the difficulties the client was experiencing.  She was moved to Slough and later to Hillingdon.  When Client’s husband was granted Refugee status, SRS referred them to SHELTER for specialised help to have the family housed together.

Successful outcomes

  1. Mrs F’s husband was enabled to travel to UK to re-join with his family.

  2. His asylum claim was successful and he was also granted Refugee status.

  3. SRS allowed client to use SRS address for correspondence to stop the problem of other residents tampering with her correspondence and sometimes loss.

  4. Client’s husband was successfully assisted to apply for asylum support and prevented him from becoming homeless and destitute.

  5. Client was helped with donated food thereby saving money to enable the husband visit her and her daughter.  He was housed in a different part of London by Home Office while his asylum case was being considered.  He spent all the money he got travelling back and forth to visit his family.

  6. When Client’s husband was granted Refugee Status, SRS referred client to SHELTER who specialise in Housing law to advocate for the whole family to be housed together by Hillingdon Council.  This was successful and the whole family now live together.

  7. The whole family was assisted to apply and obtain Travel Documents.

  8. SRS helped to prevent isolation, client was helped to go shopping and come to SRS for information, advice and social events.

  9. We are still waiting to hear from Home Office regarding application for Immigration status for the second child.

  10. Whist attending SRS, client met another family from her country who speak the same language and whose English was very limited.  She has been helping the family with interpreting thereby enabling SRS Advisers to help them.

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