Our early work concentrated on supporting individuals detained in Dover Immigration Removal Centre. Since the Centre closed in autumn 2015, our focus has been on those held in prisons in Kent and London, some of whom remain in prison even after they have finished serving their sentences. In prison they are considerably more restricted than they would be in a detention centre. Mobile phones are not allowed, so it is difficult for our clients to contact family or friends, or to find a solicitor. In this situation of prolonged uncertainty and frustration, people can feel very isolated and despair of anything changing.
Kent Refugee Help offers emotional and practical support, encouraging prisoners to remain optimistic and pursue their rights. Our caseworker makes an initial visit to discuss the prisoner’s situation in confidence. Essential follow up work includes making referrals for legal advice and representation. We will also raise concerns about health and welfare and other issues according to need.
Since 2019, we have been authorised to provide immigration advice and services by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner). We have recently been granted funding to provide immigration advice to prisoners by telephone and video link . Please see our leaflet here.
Our support continues after release if requested. We welcome the involvement of refugees and migrants in our organisation; their ideas and experiences are crucial to informing and developing our policy.
Please also contact us if you are interested in volunteering, donating money or have an interest in refugee rights.