Disabled Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Deaf and Disabled Refugees and Asylum Seekers

On the theme of Disabled Refugees HEAR is helping our members access rights and entitlements for Deaf and disabled refugees, asylum seekers and those with ‘no recourse to public funds’ in London

HEAR members said it was important that HEAR’s Disabled Refugees work:
• highlights the rights and entitlements of Disabled refugees to health, social care, transport and other services
• brings together HEAR members working with Deaf and Disabled people and those working with Migrants and Refugees
• highlights statutory obligations to all disabled people despite immigration status, or that protections for disabled people ‘trump’ immigration law
• creates links between HEAR members, social services, the Home Office and other services working with Disabled refugees

What HEAR is doing to meet the task

HEAR hosts the Disabled Refugees Strategic Expert Group (Drs eg)
This group made up of 1/3 London DDPOs (with refugee expertise), 1/3 MRCOs (with disability expertise) and 1/3 Experts by experience. This group input into  HEARs work on this theme, connects front-line experts and co-produces strategic communications and joint campaign approaches. The agenda for 14th August meeting and Terms of Reference for the group are available here.

HEAR leads for Deaf and Disabled customers at the Home Office National Asylum Stakeholder Forum (NASF) Equality sub-group
HEAR were invited to feed the needs and rights of Deaf and Disabled customers into the UKVI and Home Office policy and delivery work for asylum seekers. The Home Office now has a work-plan for Deaf and Disabled people in the asylum system that HEAR monitors at the quarterly meetings. Outside of the these quarterly meetings the VCS across all equality streams meets to strategise on pan-equality approaches and priorities at this group.

Join googlegroupDisabled Refugees googlegroup
HEAR has established a googlegroup to support this work, connect front-line workers to share good practice and disseminate HEAR co-produced briefings that highlight the rights and entitlements of Deaf and Disabled refugees. This is also a mechanism to collect input on public policy issues.

Briefings and resources for disabled refugees
Updated Home Office guidance for Asylum Seekers with Care Needs
After 14 years and the support of a cross-sector, user-led lobby the Home Office has updated their guidance on responsibilities of Local Authorities, NASF, and those with statutory duties to Disabled ‘customers’

A guide to the rights and entitlements of disabled asylum seekers, refugees and refused applicants in the UK, HEAR
HEAR briefing on refugees’ rights to health, mental health and social care support; in its simpliest terms rights for disabled people ‘trump’ immigration law.
Easy Read version
Plain English Large print version

A guide to the right to free and concessionary transport for disabled asylum seekers, refugees and refused applicants in the UK, HEAR
HEAR briefing, produced at the request of the Home Office, highlighting disabled and older peoples entitlement to concessionary travel, independent on their immigration status.For any more information or to get involved in the work please contact Mhairi
Events and happenings

June 2018 – Refugee Week – Working with counterpoint arts and others for a celebration of 20 years of Refugee Week at the V&A museum

Disabled and in Exile; being excluded twice
Monday 21st November 2016
Many people who seek refugee status in the UK have long-term health needs that mean they are, under UK law, ‘disabled people’. Survivors of torture, persecution and conflict often have physical and mental health support needs as a result of trauma. People living in exile often have depression and other mental health support needs. Some people seek asylum because they have been persecuted and subject to discrimination for being disabled in their countries of origin.
Speakers included Kolbassia Haoussou, Fariha Bhatti, Inclusion London, Doctors of the World, Micro Rainbow International, Deighton, Pierce, Glynn. Full agenda and speakers biographies


  • People with mental health service needs are ‘disabled’ too!
  • Like Children’s Law, protections for disabled people ‘trump’ Immigration Law
  • Refugees and asylum seekers are exempt from healthcare charges
  • Local Authorities should provide accommodation for asylum seekers with care needs
  • Disabled people can get free transport
  • In order to assess a disabled person’s needs independent advocacy is a statutory obligation

Did you know