These are unprecedented times and we are working as best as we can to continue to deliver our vital work while keeping our clients, volunteers and staff safe. We have created the below FAQ’s about our response and we will keep this page updated as this situation develops.
Are you still delivering workshops in prisons and detention centres?
Due to the risk that a COVID-19 outbreak in a detention centre or prison would pose to our clients, we have suspended our legal advice surgeries in detention centres or prisons. We have taken this action because we believe the risk of our team passing on the disease to people in immigration detention or contracting COVID-19 is too great.
Is the advice line still open?
Yes. In line with government advice, BID’s team will begin working from home from Wednesday. We have invested in technology to ensure our Legal Managers can continue to run the advice line from home so this will operate as normal, opening 10am to 12pm Monday to Thursday on 020 7456 9750. As we are unable to supervise volunteers from home we will have significantly fewer people answering calls so there may be delays in getting your call answered.
Can I still apply for bail?
Yes you can still apply for bail to both the Home Office and Tribunal. You can call our advice line for support and read our guides and resources here on the website.
How is BID working to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in detention?
There is a very serious risk that the virus could spread quickly throughout all immigration removal centres. COVID19 is highly infectious and such diseases tend to spread more quickly in prisons and other sites of incarceration.
Additionally we are concerned that measures to prevent the risk or spread of Coronavirus in detention will undermine detainees' access to justice and/or access to medico-legal reports.
We are therefore working in collaboration with other migrant and human rights organisations to demand the urgent release of all immigration detainees.
Our joint letter to the Home Office was signed by 10 organisations last week. You can read about here in the Guardian. We followed this with another letter today and will continue to press for the urgent release of all immigration detainees.
Is BID fundraising events including the Hackney Half, London Marathon and London Legal Walk still going ahead?
We are extremely grateful to everyone who has signed up to these challenge events to raise money for our work.
We can confirm that the London Marathon, London Legal Walk and Hackney Half have been postponed.
As the events have been postponed, any funds raised can sit on your fundraising page until the event is rescheduled. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you informed.
Is there anything I can do to help at this time?
As our work is legal most of our volunteers require constant supervision. With our staff working from home this is not possible but here are some of the ways you can support us in the coming weeks:
- Financial support: We are investing in expensive technology to enable us to work from home and are also expecting to lose a lot of income from events that are likely to be cancelled or postponed such as the Hackney Half and Marathon. Financial support at this time is therefore very much appreciated.
- Join our calls for the release of all immigration detainees: Read about our letter to the Home Office here and join our call by writing to/tweeting your MP.