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COVID 19 Globe

UK Government Announces Support for Foreign Nationals

Details have been published on how Americans and other foreign nationals living in the UK can access and receive support during the Coronavirus pandemic

Published on April 23, 2020

The UK Government has released information which answers some of the key questions on what support is available for foreign nationals, including Americans, who are living in the UK during the current Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. The information, published today, offers insights into the support available in terms of public funding, health, employment, education, housing and seeking asylum.

Public Funding

Although the Government clarifies that foreign nationals "You may not be able to access public funds", they do say that "You can apply for access to public funds by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if you have a UK family or private life visa and either: you’re destitute or at risk of destitution; your child’s welfare is at risk due to low income; you’re in other exceptional financial circumstances".

Details on what the Government means by a UK family or private life visa can be found by clicking here
Details on applications for public funds due to a 'change of conditions' application can be found by clicking here

Healthcare

The Government confirms that for foreign nationals, "You will not have to pay for diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes if you’re tested and the result is negative." They also say that "Your immigration status won’t be checked if you seek a test or treatment for coronavirus."

They also explain that those who are 'shielding' (If you have a medical condition that makes you vulnerable to coronavirus, you may have been contacted by your GP or the NHS telling you to stay at home and avoid leaving the house. This is called shielding.), "you can get help, such as deliveries of medication and food".

Details on applying for such help in England can be found through GOV.UK
Details on seeking support in Scotland can be found via the Scottish Government website
Details on getting help in Wales can be found via the Welsh Government website

If you are Employed in the UK

The Government explain that "If your biometric residence permit (BRP) has ‘NRPF’ or ‘no public funds’ printed on the back of the card, you may be able to access: Statutory Sick Pay; contributory Employment and Support Allowance, if you have made sufficient national insurance contributions; support provided to employers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme".

If you are Self-Employed in the UK

The Government are saying that if you are registered as self-employed, "you may be able to apply for a grant through the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.."

Housing

You may have already been aware of banks and financial services offering 3 month 'repayment holidays' for mortgage payments. The Government recommends contacting your bank if you are unsure or have particular financial concerns.

For those renting, the Government has issued guidance which means that in England, "landlords must give 3 months’ notice of evictions, known as intention to seek possession" and "all evictions and possession proceedings have been suspended for 90 days from 27 March".

For information on guidance issued for renting in Scotland, you can go to this page on the Scottish Government website, or if you live in Wales, this page on the Welsh Government website.

The Government are also advising that your Local Authority may be able to provide assistance in certain circumstances, for example "if you or a family member have specific care needs, including adult social care and children’s services." Contact details on your Local Authority can be found by going to https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

Seeking Asylum

Government support on seeking Asylum remains available, by going to https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support.

Further Support

If you find you have questions or issues that aren't helped by this page, do check out our A-List Directory for legal firms, tax experts, financial service providers and other firms who specialize in assisting Americans in the UK. Or, drop us an e-mail at editor@theamerican.co.uk and we'll do our best to help.

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