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 Migrant 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.

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.

Disabled 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.

Previous events and successes

Disabled and in Exile; being excluded twice
Monday 21st November 2016, 13.30-5.30 (FREE lunch from 12.30)
CAN Mezzanine Borough, 7 – 14 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YR

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.

We are holding a FREE event to connect organisations working with refugees and those working with disabled people highlighting the lives, rights and entitlements of disabled asylum seekers, refugees and those with ‘no recourse to public funds’ (see briefings at the bottom of the page). For example, did you know that asylum seekers are exempt from healthcare charges? Or that all disabled people in London are entitled to a Freedom Pass even those without ‘immigration status’? Or that caselaw has shown that Local Authorities have an obligation to assess and support asylum seekers and NRPF with care needs?

Full agenda and speakers biographies can disabled-and-in-exile-agenda

Speakers include:
Kolbassia Haoussou
co-founder of Freedom from Torture’s Survivors Speak OUT network and Refugees in Media and Broadcast
Fariha Bhatti disability rights campaigns and Trustee of Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership
Inclusion London who support Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations in London
Doctors of the World who provide healthcare to vulnerable people
Micro Rainbow International working with LGBTQI+ refugees in London
Deighton, Pierce, Glynn, one of the most highly regarded civil rights and judicial review litigation firms in the UK


For example DID YOU KNOW?

  • 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

To book your place please email HEARcampaigns@reap.org.uk with any access and dietary needs. Please feel free to disseminate this invitation to your networks. This event is funded by Trust for London and London Councils.


Our aims for this work is to:
• To improve the provision of services to disabled asylum seekers and refugees. We will:
• provide briefing on actual rights and entitlements that disabled Asylum Seekers and refugees have in the UK
• highlight that many asylum seekers and refugees are disabled people due to the nature of being in exile and their experiences surviving torture and persecution
• inform services of their statutory obligations to disabled people at various stages of the immigration process
• create links and exchanges between Disabled People’s and Refugee Organisations

HEAR Briefings