Working with non-UK nationals to address the particular obstacles they face
Around half of people rough sleeping in London are non-UK nationals. Many non-UK nationals sleeping rough have been in the UK for many years, while others have recently come. Many come seeking work, or sometimes seeking protection from their home countries as refugees or asylum seekers.
These people are often particularly vulnerable, as they often face additional challenges, from lack of documentation to complex legal issues and complete destitution. Many are also traumatised by their experiences, which creates an additional barrier to settling in the UK.
This means it’s necessary that specialist support, advice and expertise is available to help migrants find a route out of homelessness.
The Migration team at The Connection supports homeless migrants in different ways, such as:
• helping them understand their entitlements and routes to legal status in the UK;
• supporting them to obtain ID;
• advocating for their rights and supporting them through the immigration system;
• working with them if they seek to return to their country of origin (though few do).
The team also provides training and support to other organisations, building their capacity to better support homeless migrants. This ensures that organisations are aware of the specific issues facing this group and can refer them to specialist services, including immigration solicitors or modern slavery support services.
The team also empowers homeless migrants to advocate for themselves through holding workshops and providing resources, such as service directories and information about entitlements.
The Connection at St Martin’s is regulated to provide immigration advice or services by the Immigration Services Commissioner.