Stopping regular (weekly) visiting

These guidelines aim to:

  1. clarify how visitors work with people seeking asylum
  2. outline the usual progress from one stage to the next
  3. offer some practical advice on how visitors might handle the progression.


Weekly visiting

Most of the people we visit weekly are people trying for a Fresh Claim. A smaller number have an active case and are receiving NASS support, but still have great needs. A small number have been granted Leave to Remain, but, because of particular difficulties or distress, still have need of befriending.

Meetings happen in a neutral place, usually once a week for about an hour.

The reasons for regular visiting are:
– for befriending
– for practical help
– for help to access good legal advice
– for financial help

It is important that the visitor does not attempt practical help which can be better provided by a more specialist organisation/agency.

People for whom regular visiting is no longer appropriate

Many have now got Leave to Remain and are working or receiving universal credit in Southampton. Others have moved away from the area, perhaps to friends or to NASS support, a few to detention.

Occasional contact is maintained by text, by phone, or the odd meeting.
(Very rarely a person, because of changed circumstances, needs to return to weekly visiting.)

People who no longer receive any help from SWVG. Some remain friends with their visitors.

When people seeking asylum no longer need weekly visits

  • Person gets Leave to Remain: when the person is in receipt of universal credit, in education or is employed, weekly visiting will normally stop. Support and advice with housing, employment and integration is available from CLEAR and other organisations and agencies – and is normally outside the remit of an SWVG visitor. Visitors should point people in the direction of this more specialist help.
  • Person gets NASS support: s/he will not normally need regular visiting – unless there are outstanding legal, health or other issues to be settled.
  • Person is detained
  • Person is removed or takes the Voluntary Return option
  • Person moves away from the area
  • Person feels competent to handle his/her own affairs
  • Person has exhausted all legal options
  • There are incidents of violence or criminal activity
  • Person needs more specialist care and help than SWVG can provide
  • Person presents expectations SWVG cannot meet

Bringing weekly visiting to an end

Weekly visiting should always be for a temporary period, never indefinitely. Our aim is to encourage independence. It is also necessary to free up visitors so that they can work with new people.

The aim should always be to encourage the person seeking asylum towards greater independence. The visitor needs to be pro-active in making the person aware of the process. It is also important that the visitor maintain some degree of emotional detachment in his/her work with the person seeking asylum.Strategies which visitors may find useful

  • Start right from your first visit by explaining that weekly visiting is always temporary, that when appropriate it will be reduced and will eventually end. Discuss mutual expectations, as well as what SWVG can offer.
  • You may not have done this (!), so think of how gently to make the person seeking asylum
    aware of the process. A reference to the moving-on process  from time to time is helpful for both parties.
  • Explain that it’s “not the end of a friendship”; also that you need to become available to work with new people.
  • Discuss with the person: “Do we need to meet next week?” “Can you manage to sort this out yourself?”
  • Encourage input from the person seeking asylum: “What would you like to discuss when we meet?” “What has been helpful/less helpful”?
  • Promise to ring/text/email the following week, instead of visiting. Or simply say, “I cannot come next week”.
  • Suggest, “If there’s a problem you want to discuss, do call me.”
  • Discuss the subject in your support group.

Visitors who need to end weekly visiting

A visitor may have personal reasons for cutting down, needs a “break”, or has difficulties with a particular person.

In that case, it is important to discuss the matter with the Coordinator, who, if necessary, will arrange for an alternative visitor to take over. It is helpful for the visitor to discuss the problem in support group and also with the mentor.

14 May 2023   Jackie Batchelor