Covid-19 and the hostile environment

This situation has shown that we are all linked. If one of us is unsafe, we are all less safe. Society is fragile and is only held together by the kindness of people – by community.


Refugees and asylum seekers in the UK are part of our communities and the government needs to remove the restrictions – the hostile environment – that stop us coming together to protect each other and ourselves.

Hospitals should not be a hostile environment


The restrictions make no sense in our current times; when physical isolation is a necessity for those feeling sick, when the importance of universal healthcare has never been more stark, when we are all in this together.


We join with over 60 organisations and groups of people across the UK in writing a letter to the Prime Minister offering simple policy recommendations that would protect migrants and refugees with insecure migration statuses and people who’re experiencing homelessness.  


Any attempts to protect public health, do not work unless they apply to everyone living within our communities. 


Physical distancing and Isolation:

This is a fundamentally selfless act that everyone should be able to do to play their part in protecting their neighbourhoods and communities. It is simply not possible to do this when sleeping on the streets.


The government should block book hotel rooms as an emergency measure to ensure that 

  1. Everyone has the ability to self-isolate if they have symptoms
  2. Nobody recovering from Covid-19 should be discharged from hospital to go and sleep on the streets
  3. No evictions from Home Office asylum support accommodation


Access to healthcare

The hostile environment makes it more difficult for those with insecure migration statuses to access the health service. The sharing of patient information between healthcare institutions and the Home Office has been shown to have a disastrous effect on health. Many cases have been recorded of people avoiding going to hospitals even with significant health problems like tuberculosis as they fear being detained or deported. High costs for medical care for migrants accessing the NHS also deter access. Someone with Covid-19 symptoms cannot afford to be avoiding medical professionals.


The government should immediately; 

  1. Abolish all charges for access to NHS care
  2. Confirm that no patient info will be shared with the Home Office


Financial support for all

People are losing their jobs everyday now. The government has still not released comprehensive plans to support workers through this. Many refugees and migrants have no access to work, and are prevented from accessing any form of help from the government in a status called – no recourse to public funds. Essentially, no ability to legally work and no social support, leaving people to survive on the work of charities and community groups.


With charities and organisations suspending their services, the government must remove these restrictions so that people can access support in order to survive. 

  1. Immediately remove ‘no recourse to public funds’ conditions allowing access Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay and other assistance.
  2. Emergency cash available to those without bank accounts
  3. All applicants for section 95, section 4 or schedule 10 support should be automatically and appropriately accommodated within the Home Office asylum support system while applications are being processed.
  4. Any agreement for universal income or financial support for workers should be ‘universal’ and available to all – regardless of migration status.


Our communities are pulling together in the most beautiful ways. Although things are uncertain and scary right now, the division of the past few years has never felt further away – things have changed forever. The government’s job now should be acting with responsibility and humanity – enabling and allowing our communities to take care of each other and not continuing policies that were always harmful, but could now be even more so. This pandemic is taking no notice of our migration statuses, what official pieces of paper we possess or the wording on the stamps in our passports.


We sign this letter and join with charities and organisations across the UK in the hope that the government sees the common sense of these policy recommendations which both protect some of the most vulnerable people in our societies, and our entire communities.

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What is 3D Secure?

3D Secure is an added authentication step for online payments to prevent credit card fraud, by providing an additional security layer for online purchases made with credit and debit cards. 

With the intention of reducing credit card fraud, we require extra verification through 3D secure before.

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3D Secure verification failed! What do I do?

If the 3D Secure verification isn’t working (possibly due to a connection failure or incorrect password) please try the following steps:

      • Attempt the payment again. Make sure you are entering the correct password or SMS net code. If your bank does not support 3D Secure or you have not yet enrolled, please refer to the information below.
      • Disable your pop-up blocker for a few minutes. 3D Secure opens up in an additional window that is easily blocked by pop-up blockers.
      • If it still doesn’t work get in touch with us.


MasterCard SecureCode/NetCode

For 3D Secure transactions as a MasterCard user, you will either have created a SecureCode password or your bank will send you a NetCode via SMS. You have to enter either of these when prompted by the 3D Secure screen.

If you have not yet enrolled for a MasterCard SecureCode/NetCode you can do it now (if it is supported by your financial institution).


Verified by Visa

Visa cardholders will have to enter their predetermined security password which they have set up with their financial institution. If you have forgotten this password, you will have to reset your password. Click here to find out more about Verified by Visa.


Safekey by American Express

The 3D Secure program by American Express is called SafeKey. SafeKey helps reduce unauthorised online use of your credit card by validating your identity with an additional password or unique value. You can read more about this by clicking here.

If your bank does not yet participate in this 3D Secure program and you are having difficulties with your payment, then please click here to contact us.


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Text to donate

It has never been easier for you to donate to Choose Love / Help Refugees – you can now do so via text.

We promise we won’t send you any annoying text updates, simply follow the instruction below to donate in under 2 minutes!




You can donate any amount you like via text, all you need to do is:


Text CHOOSELOVE 3 to 70450 to donate £3


Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS.

Don’t forget to add your Gift Aid information, using the link sent in the “Thank you” text.

If you’d like to give £3 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CHOOSELOVENOINFO 3 to 70450.

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To donate in the USA, simple text:



There is no need to include the donation amount, as you will be asked about this in the follow-up message. Simply fill in the form using the link you are sent.

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We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Please click through on these links if you would like to find out more about our work or make a donation. Thank you!


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Coronavirus knows no borders. Neither does love.

These are difficult and uncertain times for everyone, especially the most vulnerable including refugees and displaced people. 


Help Refugees began four and a half years ago in response to a crisis.  Flexibility and adaptability are hardwired into the way we work.  Over the past weeks, together with our amazing partners, we have been adapting the way we work to help limit the spread of Coronavirus and to keep getting vital support to those who really need it.


We have been setting up hand sanitizer points in overcrowded refugee camps, prioritising hygiene packs, educating about the importance of hand washing to minimise contagion, and stepping up our support to partners providing medical services.


Our wider work must also continue, supporting essential food, shelter, water and sanitation.  Babies still need diapers, families still need a safe place to sleep.  Imagination, invention and love mean that our partners are coming up with ingenious ways to protect the mind as well as the body, with remote psychosocial support, education and children’s entertainment already taking place.  Our partners are working in line with government policy in each country we work in.


The advocacy work to protect the  people who are already being denied their most basic rights is more vital than ever.  In the last days we have seen that governments can and will take decisive and even radical action when they feel it is necessary.  We continue to push for governments to step up to protect refugees who cannot self-isolate, now more than ever.


We know that times are tough for everyone, and that the future feels uncertain.  What is certain though, is that there is no greater power than love and community and together we can get through anything.


We promise that we will continue to put love into action and stand by the communities we work with.  Thank you so much for being with us every step of the way.  Your support makes a massive difference.


Thank you always, be safe
Choose love
Josie and the Help Refugees team

Josie Naughton CEO


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