Migrant Support Booklet

Our migrant support booklet includes key information and is available in over 20 languages. See the full booklet text below and links to the other language versions.


The National Health Service (NHS) provides health services to people living in the UK. Most of these services are free.

Everyone is entitled to see a local doctor (GP), free of charge. You will need to fill out a registration form and should not be refused if you cannot provide proof of immigration status or home address. A GP will be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns, they can also refer you to specialist hospital services. You can request a translator for your appointment.

Find a doctor:
0300 311 2233

Some dentists offer free NHS treatment and paid private treatment. You should register with a dentist as an NHS patient and let them know if you are receiving benefits, in which case your check-ups and necessary treatment will be free.

Find a dentist:
0300 311 2233

If you require immediate medical treatment you should go to the hospital Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) which is open 24 hours a day. If you are seriously ill and cannot travel you can call for an ambulance by calling 999. You can request a translator. If you do not have immigration status, then you will have to pay for non-emergency treatment. If you receive a letter demanding payment and are unable to pay please contact: wfsaveournhs@gmail.com so they can help you apply for a fee waiver. However, you must act quickly. Any unpaid debt over £500 can be reported to the Home Office. You can also get in touch on Facebook:

Mental Health free and confidential services:
Talking Therapies Waltham Forest
0300 300 1554 (option 4)

Education and support for children

Education is free in the UK and all children must go to school from the age of 4 or 5 until they are 16. Children between the ages of 16 and 18 must either be at school, in employment, training, or have a job.

Primary school (5 to 11 years old) and secondary school (12 to 18 years old) education is free. To register for a school place near your home you will
meet with the school and complete forms. A translator can be provided for
this meeting. Money for school uniform and free meals at school are available
for families on low income.

Go online or phone:
020 8496 3000

Family Support, including free childcare for children under 5
The Early Help service support families with children and young people aged 0 to 19. They can give advice and connect you with local support services. The Early Help service run a free advice service every week at Children and Family Centre Hubs, you can go in person to ask questions and receive support.

9.45am to 11.15am
Tuesdays in Leyton, 215 Queens Road, E17 8PJ
Wednesdays in Chingford, 5 Oaks Grove, E4 6EY
Thursdays in Walthamstow, 313 Billet Road, E17 5PX
Fridays in Leytonstone, 2-8 Cathall Road, E11 4LF
Email: earlyhelp@walthamforest.gov.uk or childcare@walthamforest.gov.uk

All disadvantaged children (including those with no recourse to public funds) aged 2 to 4 are now entitled to 15 hours of free childcare.


There are a few different housing options in the UK.

  1. You might need to ask the Council (local government) for help with housing. Email or phone: housing.advice@walthamforest.gov.uk 020 8496 4197
  2. You can rent a flat, house or room from a private landlord. To find available spaces you can use websites such as http://www.rightmove.co.uk or http://www.spareroom.co.uk. You might receive government welfare payments such as Universal Credit to help pay for rent.

Housing support and homelessness
If you are at risk of becoming homeless, please contact the Housing Service.

Email or phone:
020 8496 3000

Other housing support
WF Community Hub Housing Advice Line: 07743 099963. The lines are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 12pm.

WF Migrant Action Support Centre:
Fridays 10am to 12:30pm, Blackhorse Road Baptist Church Hall, 65 Blackhorse Road, E17 7AS. Phone: 07496 394 175

If you are concerned about a private landlord or the condition of a property you live in, you can get help.

In-person: 9am to 12:30pm, Fridays at Wood Street Library,1 Troubridge Square, E17 3HB
Email or phone:
020 8496 4949

Welfare and immigration

The government provides basic welfare benefit payments to people who are unable to work, are looking for work or who are on a low income. To be eligible to receive benefit payments and get a National Insurance number you must have the right to live, work and study in the UK.

Universal Credit and National Insurance
Universal credit is a payment from the government to help you and your family to live in the UK. It is paid monthly and you need to apply for it online. If you want to work or claim benefits in the UK, you must also have a National Insurance number. This is a unique and personal number. It takes about 2-6 weeks for a number to arrive after application. It will be sent to you in the post.

Go online: http://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
Help to claim phone: 0800 144 8444 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday)

When you complete the online application, the website will tell you if you need to go to a local Job Centre. When you go to the Job Centre, you will meet a ‘work coach’ who will support you to find a job. You can ask for an interpreter for Job Centre appointments. It is important that you understand what you need to do or the money you receive might be stopped.

Child Benefit
Child Benefit is a payment from the government to help you look after children. One parent can get Child Benefit for each child under 16 years of age or under 20 if still in education. It is paid every 4 weeks. Child Benefit is about £18 per week, per
child. It may take 14 weeks to process a new claim.

Go online: http://www.gov.uk/child-benefit
Help to claim call: 0800 144 8444 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday)

Immigration Advice
Waltham Forest Migrant Action offer free advice on immigration, housing and welfare issues. Immigration advice is by appointment only. Please
check the WFMA website for updates and holidays, before you drop in.

In-person: 10am to 12:30pm, Fridays at Blackhorse Road Baptist
Church, 65 Blackhorse Road, E17 7AS
Email or phone: supportcentre@wfma.org.uk 07496 394 175

Jobs and adult education

English language classes (ESOL) and adult education
Want to learn English or access adult education and training? The Migrant Advice Service (Single Point of Contact) can help you find a course for free. Get in touch for more information.

In-person (school term-time only):
Mondays, 1pm to 4pm at Leytonstone Library, 6 Church Lane, E11 1HG

Thursdays, 3pm to 5pm at Stafford Hall, St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Road,
E17 8JY

Finding a job
If you have the right to work in the United Kingdom, you can access free support to find a job with the Waltham Forest Employment team.

Email or phone: adult.learning@walthamforest.gov.uk 020 8496 2974

Workers’ rights and employment support
It is important to know your employment rights to help you stay safe. In the UK, the National Minimum Wage is £9.50 (age 23+), £9.18 (age 21 to 22), £6.83 (age 18 to 20). If someone offers you a role that sounds too good to be true or there are aspects of the job that are not clear, this could be a warning sign.

Go online or phone:
020 8496 4949
0800 144 8848

Social activities

There are lots of free things to do in Waltham Forest to help you exercise, develop skills and make friends.

The Migrant Advice Service (Single Point of Contact) can help you find free social activities in your area. Get in touch for more information.

Phone or Whatsapp: 07770 054167
In-person (school term-time only):
Mondays, 1pm to 4pm at Leytonstone Library, 6 Church Lane, E11 1HG

Thursdays, 3pm to 5pm at Stafford Hall, St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Road,
E17 8JY

Young people
You can find information about free activities for young people. Information about free activities for children during school holidays is updated regularly.

Go online:

You can find information about free activities adults.

Go online: wfmigranthub.org/free-activities-for-adults/

Warm Spaces this winter
If you are looking for a warm space to relax and socialise this winter, you can find a list of free Community Living Room spaces.

Go online: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/get-involved/winter-spaces-network

Emergencies and more information

If you are in an emergency situation, you can phone:

  • Emergency Services: 999
  • Emergency Health Advice: 111
  • Local Government: 020 8496 3000
    (24 hours a day)
  • Waltham Forest Police: 101
  • Report Hate Crime: Speak to Stop Hate UK
    0800 138 1625 (24 hours a day)

Further information for migrants

You can find more information on your entitlements and support on the Migrant Londoners Hub.

Local food banks
These friendly local food hubs can help you access free or affordable food.

Email or phone:
0800 772 0212
E4 8LT, E17 4QU, E11 4PP

07980 351351
E17 6QQ

E4 9QD

075393 64110
E11 4LJ

020 8558 6880
E17 9AH

Hong Kong BNOs

If you are a Waltham Forest resident from Hong Kong, you are entitled to free support in different areas:

  • Adult education (including English language and vocational courses)
  • Funding for Hong Kong British National Overseas status holders who are at risk of extreme financial hardship

Our Migrant Advice Service (Single Point of Contact) can help you find the right support:

Phone or Whatsapp: 07770 054167
In-person (school term-time only):
Mondays, 1pm to 4pm at Leytonstone Library, 6 Church Lane, E11 1HG
Thursdays, 3pm to 5pm at Stafford Hall, St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Road,
E17 8JY

Additional information and advice for Hong Kong BNO visa holders

Go online:

NRPF and Undocumented migrants

What is ‘No Recourse to Public Funds, (NRPF)?
No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is an immigration condition which means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing support. This applies to people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who:

  • Do Not have Leave to Remain
  • Have NRPF stamped in their Biometric Residence
    Permit or on their visa
  • Have applied for leave to enter or remain
    when someone has agreed to pay for
    accommodation and support
  • Is waiting for the outcome of an
    immigration appeal

What support is available?

Local government is legally required to support:

  • Children in need: if a family is homeless or does not have enough money to cover basic needs (food and clothing)
  • Homeless adults who are disabled or elderly
  • You may be able to get support that is not listed as a ‘public fund’, such as: education, childcare, healthcare or free School meals
  • Healthcare
  • Free school meals

Can I get the NRPF condition removed?

You MAY be able to make an application for recourse to public funds if you have Limited Leave to Remain in the UK and you have an NRPF stamp on your visa. You can complete the ‘Change of Conditions’ application for free and you do not need a lawyer.

More information and support

Project 17
07963 509044

The Unity Project
Making a Change of Conditions application:


Waltham Forest Migrant Action
Free advice on immigration, housing and welfare issues
Support Centre: Fridays 10am to 12.30pm, Blackhorse Road Baptist Church Hall, 65 Blackhorse Road, E17 7AS.

Call or Whatsapp: 07496 394 175

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