Here at Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton, we are always looking to work with community organisations to help local residents. We’re particularly interested in removing barriers that residents experience when they need advice, and reaching minority groups across Bury and Bolton.
ADAB is a Bury-based charity that aims to enhance the economic, educational, social, recreational and cultural conditions of people from minority ethnic communities, including asylum seekers and refugees. ADAB acts as a community hub and provides a variety of outreach services from its premises in the centre of Bury. In March 2021, we began a partnership project with ADAB, funded by Bury Council, to help their clients apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Our fully-accredited immigration advice team has been supporting clients in the local area for over 20 years. We were approached by ADAB and Bury Council to help residents attending ADAB drop-in services to apply for pre-settled and settled status under the EUSS, completely free of charge to clients. The COVID-secure community centre offers a safe and secure place for our team to meet with clients and provide support in advance of the 30th June 2021 deadline for EUSS applications.
Emily Cunningham, our EUSS Project Officer, gives an overview of how the appointments works:
“In the first instance, staff at ADAB take the client’s details. We then arrange a face-to-face appointment to go through their application and review their documentation. Sometimes, clients aren’t confident to complete the application themselves because of lack of technology skills or language barriers. We can complete the application for them and act on their behalf, dealing with all Home Office correspondence relating to their case.
Some clients just need a bit of reassurance that they have completed the application correctly and supplied the necessary information for their status to be considered. We can also scan and submit any extra documentation that the Home Office may require. Often, we can complete this within one appointment, so the client doesn’t have to wait.
It’s great to get out into the community and meet people face-to-face again. It’s also a lot easier for residents to show us their documentation rather than trying to read it out over the phone. We’re really enjoying working with ADAB and we look forward to supporting many more of their clients with EUSS applications.”
At the moment, we expect a decision on EUSS applications within three months. Where further documentation is required, it can take slightly longer. Once we have received a decision from the Home Office regarding a client’s application, we meet with them in person to make sure they understand the outcome and any further action required.
Residents required to apply under the EUSS often have varied and differing needs, so face-to-face appointments can be useful. However, we also offer support over the phone and via video drop-in. We have access to interpreters at ADAB and Language Line to remove this barrier to accessing our services.
Tan Ahmed, CEO at ADAB, said:
“We’re really pleased to partner with Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton to support our residents needing extra help with their EUSS applications. It can be a difficult process, especially where clients have complex circumstances, so the accredited advice from the CABB team makes all the difference.”
If you need help with an immigration or asylum-related issue, you can get in touch with us on 0808 278 7804 or attend one of our face-to-face drop ins at ADAB – keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more details.
For more information about ADAB and their calendar of events, visit their website.