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Undocumented Migrants Fear Getting Covid-19 Treatment and Vaccine

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

The spread of Covid- 19 has turned things upside down, including people’s livelihoods. One group of people who are really feeling the effects of this are migrants who may not have permission to live in the UK.




Some say that they have no choice but to avoid the Covid-19 treatment and vaccination. Many have refused to get medical care when they've fallen ill for fear of the authorities finding out about their immigration status. The truth is a good number of migrants in this category have lost their jobs and have also given up their accommodation for smaller sized and more populated ones. Some have had to find ways to get by, including eating only one proper meal a day to save money after losing their jobs. Others have had to buy their own PPE to continue working.


A recent study followed fourteen Filipino migrants. It was found that quite a number of them were domestic workers or worked in care. The migrants were interviewed to find out how their immigration status affected their ability to survive during the pandemic. They were first interviewed in the spring of January 2020 and were interviewed again more recently. The findings include a person being asked for their passport before they could register with a GP. This is not a legal requirement. It is also quite the opposite of what the UK government has made provision for in terms of getting vaccinated. In fact, the government has urged all, including migrants without permission to remain in the UK, to get vaccinated and register with a GP.


The study also revealed that one of the migrants who showed flu-like symptoms chose to self-medicate rather than seek professional care. Another person had tested positive for Covid-19 and feared picking up her phone each time it rang because she was afraid to give her address to the NHS.


Some migrants believed getting the Covid-19 vaccine would expose their unlawful migrant status because they would have to provide their details. As a result, they avoided it. Others feared the offer to be vaccinated was a trap.


The fact is, the UK government has made the treatment of Covid-19 free for all, including those with immigration status issues. However, many migrants believe the risk associated with seeking treatment is just too high.


We believe that when considering migration, the human factor should be considered above all else. As humans, we have basic rights- a right to healthcare is one of them. Using it as a tool to fish out people without permission to live in the UK, who need healthcare, is considered by many as inhumane. All migrants are human first. As such, they deserve the right to access healthcare.


If you are a migrant who has been affected by Covid-19, please seek advice as you may be able to access support. You can find a list of free legal advice services by visiting https://www.lawworks.org.uk/legal-advice-individuals. You can also contact us for more information.



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