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living in belfast
living in belfast

living in belfast

living in belfast

IntegratIon guIde

This guide has been produced as part of Belfast City Councils Peace Plan, funded under Priority 1.1

of the PEACE III Programme for Northern Ireland

and the Border Region, 2007-13. It is intended to be a resource to help support the integration and participation of people who have migrated to Belfast.

A

wide range of information on services

is

available at:

www.nidirect.gov.uk

GEMS accept no responsibility for the content of the websites in this publication

Belfast Integration Participation Project

The Belfast Integration and Participation Project (BIPP) is a partnership between Belfast City Council (BCC), GEMS NI Ltd, The Law Centre of NI (LCNI) and South Belfast Roundtable (SBR).

Belfast Integration Partnership Project, led by GEMS NI, aims to improve the integration and participation of migrant and minority ethnic communities in the City. The project is based around the concept that integration is a two-way process. As such it will create opportunities for the host society to acquire knowledge around the circumstances and cultural background of migrant and minority ethnic communities. This creates opportunities for migrant and minority ethnic communities. www.bipp. gemsni.org.uk

Living in Belfast (part of BIPP)

If you are new to Belfast this booklet will provide you with relevant information about living and working in Belfast and getting involved in the community. The booklet is designed as a signposting tool with information on a wide range of services along with contact details.

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Contents

Page

Chapter 1

Living in Belfast

2

Access to services including:

• Health

• Emergency Services and Non-Emergency Services

• Parent and Children Services

• Housing

• Education

• Individual rights

• Advice organisations

• Police and Reporting Crime

• Social Responsibility

• Currency and Banking

• Transport

• Leisure

• Voting

Chapter 2

Working in Belfast

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• Working in UK

• Categories of Workers

• Gaining Employment Support

• Wages and Deductions

• Working in the UK - Individual Rights and Individual Responsibilities

• Introduction to the Benefit System

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Chapter 3

Integration into Belfast Community

guide

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• Understanding the History of ‘The Troubles’ and its impact on Belfast

• Governance Issues Including Local Government

• How to Get Involved in the Local Community

• Volunteering

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living in belfast

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Access to services including:

• Health

• Emergency Services and Non-Emergency Services

• Parent and Children Services

• Housing

• Education

• Individual Rights

• Advice Organisations

• Police and Reporting Crime

• Social Responsibility

• Currency and Banking

• Transport

• Leisure

• Voting

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Health

1. NHS service

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All accident and emergency services are free to everyone living in Northern Ireland.

Routine treatments (non emergency services) are free for most people living in Northern Ireland. This includes asylum seekers, refugees, EEA migrant workers as well as any migrant worker with a work permit or visa.

There are some exceptions including:

• temporary visitors

• students enrolled on short courses

• those who entered UK for medical treatment

• migrants not considered to be ‘ordinarily resident’

These categories of people will be charged for health treatment. Assistance may be available.

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If you are not sure if you are eligible for free health

treatment, or if you have been refused free treatment

that you urgently need, contact the Law Centre:

www.lawcentreni.org Tel: 028 9024 4401

2. Get a medical card

You will need a Medical card to register with a GP (General Practitioner-family doctor) or a dentist. Medical cards are free. To get a Medical card, you need to fill in the HS22X form, which can be obtained from any Health Centre or from the Business Service Organisation - www.hsc.business.hscni.net You should fill it in and take it to register with a doctor.

3. Register with a doctor

A list of GPs is available from Citizens Advice Bureau

(contact details page 49), the Business Services Organisation. You must register to use a GP. You will need to find a GP who will accept you as a patient. The GP service is free to all residents. You can choose a female GP if you wish. If the GP accepts

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you, he/she will sign your HS22X form and you will receive your medical card. You will need to bring your passport, visa and ID documents as you have to prove you are entitled to live in the UK. Register with a GP as soon as possible, don’t wait until you are ill. If you have registered and move house make sure your GP has the right address.

4. When you need to see your GP

In most cases, you need to make an appointment to see your GP. Sometimes you will need to wait for a few days before you can see the doctor. If you need immediate treatment ask for an urgent appointment. All GPs have an emergency number should you need to see them outside normal hours, so check the detail when you register. Generally GPs only visit patients at home who are seriously ill. If you still feel you are dealing with an emergency you can visit the Accident & Emergency at your nearest hospital. Your GP can help you to get advice and a referral to services for help with an alcohol or drug addiction problem.

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If you cannot speak English?

You can ask for an interpreter when accessing health services. Your GP or any other health service provider should arrange an interpreter if you need one. You need to ask for an interpreter when you make or are given an appointment. The Registered Interpreting service is free and confidential. If you are refused an interpreter contact the Equality Commission NI or the Law Centre NI. www.equalityni.org. Tel: 028 9050 0600 www.lawcentreni.org Tel: 028 9024 4401

5. Emergency Health Service

An emergency is a serious or life threatening situation which may include loss of consciousness, severe chest pain or loss of blood. Call 999 from any telephone or 112 from your mobile telephone.

You will be asked for: Your name, the address or location and telephone number of where you are? What is happening? You may then be asked for further information.

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6. Emergency Department

(previously known as Accident & Emergency – A&E)

The Emergency Department (ED) is open 24-hours a day, every day, to assess and treat patients with critical and life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as chest pain, severe abdominal pain, serious infections, fractures and other injuries.

Emergency Departments (EDs) in Belfast are located at:

• Mater Hospital (for patients of all ages)

• Royal Victoria Hospital (patients aged 13 years and older)

• A separate Children’s Emergency Department is located at: The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children

For addresses and further details go to:

www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/1376

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7. Non-Emergency Health Service

If you need medical attention but your problem is not

an emergency you can call your GP on numbers you are given when you register. This will include an out of hours telephone number.

8. Drink and drug abuse

Drinkline, the National Alcohol Helpline, is on Tel: 080 0917 8282. It offers confidential information, help and advice. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The National Drugs Helpline is: Tel: 080 0776 600.

It is a free and confidential telephone helpline, which gives information about drugs and drug abuse. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

9. Pharmacy services

Many medicines can only be prescribed by a GP.

If you need any medicine, your GP will give you

a prescription, giving you permission to get the medicine. Prescriptions are free.

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You must have a medical card to be able to register with a dentist. Many dentists have closed lists or only take private patients. To find your nearest dentist:

www.hscbusiness.hscni.net/services/2070

Emergency dental treatment

If you experience sudden toothache, you can attend the Relief of Dental Pain Service in Belfast City Hospital. This operates as an accident and emergency dental facility, treating pain or other oral trauma. Patients are seen according to the urgency of dental symptoms. Long waiting times are likely but you will be seen and treated by a dentist.

Find out more about the Relief of Dental Pain Service available in the evenings and at weekends at www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/DentalServices

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11. Optician service

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If you need to have your eyes tested contact a registered optician. You may also get help with paying for eye tests or with the cost of glasses. For further information go to:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/eye-care

12. Family planning services

If you need any advice on planned or unplanned pregnancy, contraception or sexual health, you can contact your GP, the Family Planning Association (FPA) or Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Clinic (formerly Family Planning Clinic) (for a list of free and confidential clinics visit www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/pdf/Clinics_by_ area_-updated_Feb_12.pdf), or the Family Planning Association (FPA). This service is also free and confidential. To find out where your nearest service is Tel: 084 5122 8687.

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13. Additional roles within the health service - What they do?

Midwife - Specially trained nurse to care for women and babies during pregnancy, labour and in the early days after the baby is born.

Health Visitor - Every family with children under five has a named health visitor. Their role is to offer support and encouragement to families through the early years from pregnancy and birth to primary school and beyond.

District Nurse - They visit people in their own homes or in residential care homes, providing care for patients and supporting family members.

14. Help with NHS charges

People who have to pay NHS charges may be able to get help under the NHS Low Income Scheme. The amount of help is based on a comparison between a person’s income and requirements at the time that a claim is made or a charge was paid. To make a low- income claim, you will need to fill in the HC1 form which you can get from your GP’s surgery.

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Emergency Services and Non-Emergency Services

1. What is an emergency?

An emergency is a serious or life threatening situation which may include loss of consciousness, severe chest pain or loss of blood. Call 999 from any telephone or 112 from your mobile telephone to contact the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI), NI Fire & Rescue Service, or an Ambulance in an emergency. Tell the operator which emergency service you need. The operator will then connect you to the emergency service who will ask you:-

Your name, the address or location and telephone number of where you are? What is happening? You may then be asked for further information.

You will need to reply to the operator and emergency services in English. Other emergency services such as the Coastguard, Mountain Rescue and Cave Rescue can also be contacted through the 999/112 number. Textphone Users 18000. (Textphone,

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sometimes called a Minicom, is similar to a standard telephone. It plugs into your telephone socket at home, and has a keyboard and display that lets you type and read conversations.)

When a 999/112 non-English speaker is connected to the PSNI they will be placed on hold while the control room contact the Interpreter Service and during this short period the caller will hear “Please Hold” in 14 different languages. This is to prevent them from abandoning the 999 call and dialling again. As soon as the control room have an interpreter available the emergency call is brought off hold and all three parties can talk. The 999 services are for emergencies only. Misuse of the number could result in prosecution.

2. Non-Emergency Services

If you wish to contact the Police, NI Fire and Rescue Service, or need medical attention but your problem is not an emergency you can call your GP or the following numbers in Belfast.

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NI Fire and Rescue Service Tel: 028 9266 4221

Police Tel: 0845 600 8000 to contact your nearest station.

Information about the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) - The PSNI is committed to making Northern Ireland safer through progressive, professional policing. They aim to make their services accessible to the whole community. If you need any further information in your language please contact the PSNI. www.psni.police.uk/index/contacts.htm

The role of the police (PSNI) - in this country may be different from that in your own country. Their role is to uphold and enforce the law and to protect public. As a foreign national you have the same right to protection as a British national. The police have a responsibility for public safety and you should be confident in asking them for assistance .

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Contact PSNI - You can contact the Police Service by telephone, email, in writing and in person. If you do not speak English you will be transferred to an interpreter.

Reporting race hate crime - PSNI operates an online form where you can inform police about any incident which is perceived to have been committed against another person because of their

race, religion, political opinion, disability or sexual orientation /identification . These incidents are

commonly referred to as Hate Crime.

incidents will help the Police Service tackle hate crime. The information you provide is important and will enable the police to identify areas of concern, patterns of behaviour and may assist in identifying and prosecuting offenders.

Reporting

You can report a hate crime online at:-

http://www.psni.police.uk/index/advice-and-

legislation/advice_hate_crime/hate_crime_

reporting.htm

But in an emergency you should dial 999, and for non-emergency calls phone 0845 600 8000.

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The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) has an Online Incident Report Form.

www.nicem.org.uk/services/support-to-victims-

of-racial-harassment-and-discrimination/report-

an-incident

Bilingual Community Safety Advocacy Scheme - To support minority ethnic communities in Belfast to reduce the fear of crime and improve communication between government services to help you live safely.

Chinese Welfare Association Bilingual Community Safety Advocate Tel: 07888 398630

Polish Association Bilingual Community Safety Advocate Tel: 07916 574225

Additional contacts:

South Belfast Roundtable Race Relations Co- ordinator Tel: 07811 901722

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) encourages reporting to their district offices. Tel: 0344 892 0900

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The PSNI Non-emergency and general enquiries Tel: 0845 600 8000.

These services are not monitored 24 hours a day and are not suitable for reporting an emergency.

For more information about the PSNI, look at their website - www.psni.police.uk. Or write to:

PSNI, Police Headquarters, Brooklyn, 65 Knock Road, Belfast BT5 6LE.

Crimestoppers Tel: 08 0055 5111

3. Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a global problem and a local problem that is happening here in our community. Men, women and children are tricked and deceived and moved from their communities to be exploited. Women are forced to provide sexual services in brothels and men forced to work in agricultural and food processing industries for example. Children may be forced to beg or commit street crime. Traffickers treat human beings as ‘commodities’ who are bought and sold and resold making huge profits

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for the traffickers. If they complain they are subjected to force or the threat of force. These threats often extend to their families back in their home countries. You may see or hear about someone who might not speak English, have marks of physical abuse, such as bruises, cuts or cigarette burns, is afraid of adults, not allowed to keep money, or live in overcrowded property.

If you think someone is being forced or tricked into sexual exploitation, domestic labour, forced street crime or being groomed contact Migrant Help.

MIGRANT HELP Tel: 07766 668781 a 24 hour 7 days a week helpline.

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Parent and Children Services

1. Parental Responsibilities

What are my parental responsibilities?

• In the UK, as parents you are responsible for the care and control of your children. As parents you may discipline your children but if this discipline is too severe, you may be prosecuted for assault, or the child may be taken into the care of the local authority.

• It is difficult to be exact about the age when children are considered mature enough to be left unattended or given responsibility for looking after younger children. As a guide you should make arrangements for someone, normally over 16, to supervise your children if they are under 13 years of age.

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• According to the Children’s Act (law), the local authority (Belfast Health and Social Care Trust) has a responsibility (a duty of care) to children. Hitting, starving or neglecting children and preventing them from going to school are seen as forms of abuse and the Local Authority will investigate any reports.

2. Parenting NI

Parenting NI provides support to parents in three main ways:

• Parents Helpline Tel: 080 8801 0722 a free phone helpline which offers support and guidance to parents with any family problem.

• Parenting Education which offers tailor-made and specialist parenting courses to groups and individuals.

• Parenting Forum which provides a platform for the needs and aspirations of parents to be heard.

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For further information Tel: 028 9031 0891 or check out the website www.parentingni.org

An additional website that provides information on all family support services available throughout Northern Ireland: www.familysupportni.gov.uk

3. How do I register the birth of a baby?

Belfast City Council website provides information

on:-

i.

when to register the baby’s birth

ii.

where to register the baby’s birth

iii.

who can register the baby’s birth and

iv.

what information is needed by the Registrar

A baby’s birth must be registered within 42 days (6 weeks) of the date of birth

The birth should be registered in the district in which the baby was born. If the baby is no longer in the district where they were born, a declaration can be made at the nearest Registrar Office

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• Contact the Registrar Office to arrange a 20 to 30 minute appointment with the Registrar

• It is usual for the mother to register the birth. If the mother and father were married at the time of the birth, then the father may register the birth without the mother present

If the parents were not married at the time of the

birth:-

• The mother is not obliged to have the father’s details included on the birth certificate. It may be possible for the birth to be re-registered at a later date if necessary

• The father’s details can only be entered if the parents attend the registration together

• Friends or relatives cannot register the birth on behalf of the parents

• If English is not the first language of the parent(s) and you would like someone to help with the registration, you should ask a friend or relative to go with you to the Register Office. The Registrar will enter the details onto the computer and then onto the register of births.

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The parents need to check this information carefully and sign that it is correct. It may be helpful to bring the baby’s and parents’ passports and the birth certificates of any previous children. Once the birth is registered, you will receive one free short birth certificate and a HS123 infant registration form to help you register with your family GP and obtain your child’s medical card. Additional certificates, either short or full, may be purchased at the time of registration for £8 per copy of the birth certificate. (Price as of July 2012) www.belfastcity.gov.uk/births/index

4. Childcare provision

NICMA the Northern Ireland Childminding Association, works to support and develop registered home-based childcare. A voluntary organisation with charitable status, NICMA provides a range of services to support childminders, parents and children. www.nicma.org

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The Early Years Teams

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The two Early Years Teams within the Belfast Trust have the responsibility for registering and inspecting all day care provision for children aged 0-12 years. You can obtain a list of your local childminders and childcare facilities from the team. Tel: 028 9060 4208 or 028 9056 4977 www.belfasttrust.hscni.net

5. Gateway Services / Child Protection

If you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person contact the Gateway Service. Anyone can contact this service directly in one of the following ways:

By Tel: During office hours (9:00am-5:00pm) contact Gateway on Tel: 028 9050 7000

At all other times (all through the night, at weekends and over Bank Holidays) contact the out-of-hours Emergency Service on Tel: 028 9056 5444

In person: Speak to a Duty Social Worker at 414 Ormeau Road, Belfast. BT7 3HY Tel: 028 9020 4550

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6. Barnardo’s NI

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Barnardo’s NI - works for children first and last. For over 100 years they have helped improve the lives and opportunities of tens of thousands of children in communities across Northern Ireland. www.barnardos.org.uk/northernireland

Tuar Ceatha Services

Barnardo’s Tuar Ceatha Services helps to improve the lives of minority ethnic and refugee children and their families by providing individual parenting support, group work and high quality play-based learning for young children. This is through the Black, Minority Ethnic and Refugee Family Support Service and the Traveller’s Pre-School Service. (The name ‘Tuar Ceatha’ is Gaelic for ‘Rainbow’.) www.barnardos.org.uk/tuarceatha. Tel: 028 9066 8766

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7. Sure Start

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Sure Start programmes have been designed specifically to reflect and respond to local needs. For that reason, each Sure Start programme is unique in terms of the services it provides and the manner in which it provides them. There are, however, core elements, which must feature in any Sure Start programme.

These core elements include:

• Outreach and home visiting services, to make contact as early as possible in the child’s life and draw families into using other services

• Family support, including befriending, social support and parenting information, both group and home-based

• Good quality play, learning and childcare experiences for children, both group and home- based primary and community healthcare and advice

• Support for all children in the community, recognising their differing needs

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While Sure Start does not itself provide specialist services, they need to ensure that their services are accessible to all families.

South Belfast Sure Start 9 Lower Crescent, Belfast. BT7 1NR Tel: 028 9094 2525

East Belfast Sure Start 122 Albertbridge Road, Belfast BT5 4GS Tel: 028 9096 3399

Greater Shankill Sure Start 60 Shankill Road, Belfast BT13 2BB Tel: 028 9087 4000

Glenbrook Sure Start Wolfhill Centre.148 Legoneil Road, Belfast BT14 8DT Tel: 028 9039 1225

Clan Mór Sure Start, 106 Albert St., Belfast BT12 4HL Tel: 028 9032 7755

Smile Sure Start 168-170 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GN Tel: 028 9075 6654

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Saol Úr Sure Start Top of the Rock, 689 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7FP Tel: 028 9024 0363

Beechmount Sure Start Blackie River Centre, 43 Beechmount Pass, Belfast BT12 7NW Tel: 028 9031 9634

Outer West Sure Start 124 Stewartstown Road, Belfast BT11 9JQ Tel: 028 9030 7640

There may be more Sure Starts in your local area so ask your neighbours or local community organisations.

8. Domestic Abuse of Children

If you are a victim of domestic child abuse and you are worried about what will happen if you report it to the police, you should call ChildLine on Freephone 0800 1111. They’ll be able to let you know what will happen if you tell someone about your situation and help you work out what to do next.

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ChildLine is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Calls to ChildLine are free and they will never appear on your telephone bill. You may also be able to find useful information on their website. www.childline.org.uk

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) protects children across the UK. They provide a wide range of services for both adults and children. www.nspcc.org.uk

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) operates a helpline that offers confidential advice for people who are worried about cases of possible child abuse.

The NSPCC cannot investigate suspected child abuse cases, but they will be able to provide you with the contact details of the relevant local social services teams. Tel: 0808 800 5000 is a 24 hour service.

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Additional Organisations:

Children’s Law Centre

The children’s Law Centre is working to:-

• develop awareness among children and young people of their rights

• increase public understanding of children’s rights promote policies and legislation which give children better life services

Tel: 028 9024 5704 www.childrenslawcentre.org

Freephone Advice Line for children and young people Tel: 0808 808 5678

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) - NICCY’s job is to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people. www.niccy.org

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Housing

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Housing can be privately owned, privately rented or rented from a social landlord such as the Housing Executive or a Housing Association. You can get information and advice on different types of private rented accommodation, housing rights and rules, and tenant and landlord responsibilities from the Law Centre Guide, Housing Rights Service or the Housing Executive. No landlord has the right to refuse to let a property to you because of your nationality. If this happens you should report them to the Equality Commission. Tel: 028 9050 0600 www.equalityni.org www.lawcentreni.org www.housingadviceNI.org www.nihe.gov.uk

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1. Private accommodation, renting from a private landlord:

In Northern Ireland you can rent a house, apartment, flat, bedsit or room. The cheapest option may be to share accommodation. This is when you rent a house from a private landlord and share the rent with other people. Housing in the city centre is usually more expensive, depending on the location.

Private rental accommodation can be found:

• In local papers

• Advertisements in local shop windows or on an advertisement board

• Letting/ Estate agents – Find in yellow pages or on www.yell.com

• Advertised on the properties – some private landlords will put a sign in the window of the property that is available to rent

• If you are a student the Students Union will have information on property to rent. Each University will provide details of availability in their Halls of Residence. www.nistudentpad.co.uk

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Tenancy agreement

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At the beginning of a tenancy, there is a legal requirement for the tenant to be given a “Statement of Tenancy Terms” and a rent book. You will usually be asked to pay one month’s rent in advance and a deposit (usually one month’s rent). The deposit is required to cover damage to the property, theft or rent arrears during the tenancy and will be returned if no damage has occurred.

Rent is usually paid monthly and may include electric, gas, rates and oil or these may be paid separately. Check with your landlord. Some landlords and Estate Agents may require guarantors. A guarantor is a person who signs an agreement to pay your rent in case you are unable to pay it yourself.

Ending a tenancy

You have the right to a minimum of 28 days written notice to end the tenancy agreement. The Housing Rights Service helpline can provide you with advice and information. Tel: 028 9024 5640.

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2. Social Housing (Housing Executive (NIHE) or Housing Association Accommodation)

Social housing is accommodation provided to people in greatest housing need. These houses are owned and managed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or Housing Associations. Not everyone is entitled to this housing.

Rent for these properties is usually less than you pay to private landlords. Due to the high demand, social housing is made available on a points system based on need. For more details contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. www.nihe.gov.uk

Eligibility

To apply for social housing you must complete a single application form, which you can get from any The Housing Executive or Housing Association office. General enquiries Tel: 034 4892 0900 Housing Benefit Tel: 034 4892 0902

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3. Temporary Emergency Accommodation

Temporary Emergency short term accommodation can be provided to those having housing difficulties or are currently homeless. These are provided by Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Salvation Army and the Simon Community. Information on Temporary Emergency accommodation is also provided by Housing Rights Tel: 028 9024 5640.

For a full list of providers go to:

www.homelessni.org

Each Accommodation provider will have their own entry criteria.

Northern Ireland Housing Executive Tel: 028 9056 5444 Out-of-hours Tel: 028 9056 5444

Salvation Army Tel: 028 9067 5000

Simon Community Tel: 028 9023 2882

The Welcome Organisation Tel: 028 9023 4387

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Homelessness

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Homelessness does not just describe people sleeping on the streets. It can happen to anyone, for any number of reasons. If you have no home or are in danger of losing your home within 28 days you should contact your local Housing Executive District Office or the Homelessness Services Unit. 32 -36 Great Victoria Street, Belfast. BT2 7BA. Tel: 034 4892 0900 Out-of-hours Tel: 028 9056 5444

Housing Rights Service

Housing Rights Service provides specialist housing information in Northern Ireland. They aim to help you find the best possible solution to your housing problems by providing free, confidential advice and representation on a wide range of housing issues. www.housingadviceNI.org is a website providing free, reliable and practical information to the public on housing and homelessness issues. There is a section dedicated to the housing rights and concerns of migrant workers in Northern Ireland and information is available in a range of languages.

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Additional Support Organisations:

Northern Ireland Housing Executive 32-36 Great Victoria Street, Belfast. BT2 7BA Tel: 028 9056 5444 www.nihe.gov.uk

Housing Rights Service - advice on housing in Northern Ireland. Monday-Friday 9.30am to 1.30pm. 4th Floor Middleton Buildings. 10-12 High Street, Belfast. BT12BA. Tel: 028 9024 5640 www.housingadviceni.org/migrant-workers

Council for the Homeless for Northern Ireland. 4th Floor Andras House, 60 Great Victoria St, Belfast. BT2 7BB. www.chni.org.uk Tel: 028 9024 6440

The Welcome Organisation Homelessness and Support Service. 65 St Peters Square North, Belfast, BT12 4DH Tel: 028 9024 0424

Homeplus NI Limited 109 Botanic Avenue, Belfast BT7 1JP. Tel: 028 9024 8521 www.homeplusni.org

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5. Private accommodation, buying your own property

An Estate Agent is a person who can advise you on property sales. Contact details can be found in local papers, the yellow pages or on the Internet. www.yell.com

It is advisable to secure a mortgage before you look for a property. Contact the Mortgage Advice Shop or your bank/ building society. If you want to become a homeowner you have the option of buying under Northern Ireland Co-ownership Housing Association. You can buy part of the property and rent part.

Mortgage Advice Shop www.themortgageshop.net

Northern Ireland Co-ownership Housing Association www.co-ownership.org

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Recycling

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All councils in Northern Ireland now collect recycling direct from outside your home. This is called kerbside recycling and materials are collected in boxes or wheeled bins. www.nidirect.gov.uk/

index/information-and-services/property-and-

housing/your-neighbourhood-roads-and-streets/

street-cleaning-litter-and-illegal-dumping/bins-

and-waste-collection

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Education

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• Nursery

• Primary and Post Primary

• Further and Higher Education

• English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

1. Nursery education

Provided on a full-time and part-time status and is recommended for children from age 3 as preparation for Primary school.

Nursery schools – Details can be found on the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) website www.belb.org.uk, local schools or through voluntary and community organisations.

Playgroups - Places are provided part-time and need to be applied for. Further information is available from the BELB. Headquarters 40 Academy Street Belfast. BT1 2NQ. Tel: 028 9056 4000.

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Reception classes - Some Primary Schools provide reception classes. These nursery classes are only for children who have reached their 4th birthday but are not at Primary School age.

2. Primary Education

Primary Education is compulsory for all children from age 4-5 to 11. You may be prosecuted if you have a child of that age who does not attend school or receive home schooling. Home Education in NI www.hedni.org

Choosing a School and enrolment - Detailed information on the registration process can be found on the BELB website. You need to make a choice of three Schools on the application. www.belb.org.uk

School Uniforms - Children in Primary and Secondary Schools in Belfast wear uniforms.

Some pupils qualify for uniform grants and free meals. Ask your child’s school for more information.

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3. Post Primary Education

Post Primary Education in Northern Ireland is for children aged between 11 and 16. Transfer tests are not provided by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI) but by each School. When

choosing a school and considering the best option for your child, get information and advice from their Primary School Principal. School prospectuses will be available free from Post–Primary Schools and contain detailed information about each school. Parents can choose at least 3 Schools. For further information go to DENI’s website.

www.deni.gov.uk/index/85-schools/6-admission-

and-choice/6-transfer-procedure.htm

Additional information can be found on the NI Direct website: www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/education- and-learning

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4. Further and Higher Education

a. Further Education - In Belfast is provided by

Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) and a wide

range of training providers. Details can be found in yellow pages. www.yell.com, www.belfastmet.

ac.uk

b. Higher Education

Is provided by the 3 Universities in NI and a selection of courses are available in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College. As part of the entry requirement you may be required to complete an English Language Assessment. There are options to study online, fulltime or part-time.

Open University www.open.ac.uk

www3.open.ac.uk/study

Queens University Belfast www.qub.ac.uk www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/ AcademicStudentAffairs

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University of Ulster www.ulster.ac.uk http://careers.ulster.ac.uk/students/students.php

Belfast Metropolitan College www.belfastmet.ac.uk www.belfastmet.ac.uk/courses/International/ Courses/Courses.aspx

c. Community Education

Community Education is available through a wide range of community centres and organisations. For more information and contact details, www.communityni.org/orgs

If you are being bullied, harassed because of your race, gender or religion each of these organisations has a system in place to deal with this so do not be afraid to report it to your teacher or tutor.

5. Career Service for NI

The Careers Service provides a free and impartial careers information, advice and guidance service to

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clients of all ages and abilities throughout Northern Ireland. This service is available to everyone whether they are employed, unemployed, in training or in education. You can speak with a professionally qualified careers adviser at the Careers Resource Centre 56 Ann Street, Belfast. BT1 4EG. Tel: 030 0200 7820. www.careersserviceni.com

6. English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL)

A wide range of organisations offer a range of ESOL classes at all levels. These include Belfast Metropolitan College, training organisations and a wide range of community organisations including GEMS NI.

Learning Language For Work - provided by GEMS NI, is a free intensive English Language training programme designed to help you acquire the English Language Skills you need to work in Northern Ireland. The course lasts 12-weeks. If you would like more information then contact – GEMS NI on Tel: 028 9033 2313

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International English Language Testing Scheme (IELTS) is available through Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) and other training providers.

For information on ESOL classes across Belfast go to:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/english-for-speakers-of-

other-languages-esol

www.belfastmet.ac.uk/courses/International/

Courses/Courses.aspx

For free ESOL classes across Belfast go to:

www.gemsni.org.uk

www.embraceni.org

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Individual rights

1. What are my rights in the UK?

Everyone in the UK is protected by the Human Rights Act passed by the government in 1998. Everyone has a right to:-

• Life

• Prohibition of torture, slavery and forced labour

• Liberty and security

• A fair trial

• No punishment without law

• Respect for their private and family life

• Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

• Freedom of expression

• Assembly and freedom of association

• Freedom to marry

• Prohibition of discrimination

• Protection of property

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• Education

• Free elections

• Prohibition of the death penalty

2. Equal Opportunities

In the UK, there are laws to ensure that people are not treated unfairly because of their sex, race, religion or disability. Discrimination laws in the UK protect people in areas like work, education, shopping and leisure.

If you face discrimination you can obtain more information from (contact details see page 49-52):-

• The Citizens Advice Bureau

• The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

• Labour Relations Agency

• Human Rights Commission

• Law Centre

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3. Gay and Lesbian

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The word homosexual describes people who are sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Men who are attracted to other men are usually called gay men, and women who are attracted to other women are called lesbians. People who like both men and women are called bisexual. www.nidirect.gov.uk/sexuality

QueerSpace

QueerSpace is a volunteer-led organisation which serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community by raising its visibility, supporting its activities, providing it with resources and facilitating communication. www.queerspace.org.uk/index

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4. Racial, Religious and Sexual Harassment

What do I do about racial, religious or sexual harassment?

In the UK, it is a criminal offence to use abusive or insulting words or actions towards another person because of their race, religion or sex. If you are a victim of, or witness such an attack, it is important to report it to the Police, who have a duty to take action against such incidents. Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Tel: 999 in an emergency Tel: 084 5600 8000 to contact your nearest station.

5. Citizenship and the Life in the UK Test

To celebrate the occasion of becoming a British citizen, the government has recently introduced new citizenship ceremonies. Information on the Life in the UK Test that many new British citizens will take. www.lifeintheuktest.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

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6. Domestic Violence

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What can I do about domestic violence?

Domestic Violence means ‘violence or threat of violence from a relative, a current or former spouse, a person you are living with, a partner or other people who live or have lived in the same household’. Brutality in the home is as much a crime under UK law as any other form of violence. The type of abuse can be physical, emotional, mental, sexual or financial. The UK has laws that protect people against domestic violence. If you experience domestic violence, it is important to get help as soon as possible. The Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor can explain the options that are available to you.

In Belfast there are places of refuge, or shelters, for women who experience domestic violence:-

• Belfast Women’s Aid 24hr Helpline Freephone Tel: 0800 917 1414 www.belfastwomensaid.org.uk

• The Police may be able to assist you find suitable places

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• Emergency telephone numbers are listed in the ‘Help line’ section at the front of the Yellow Pages www.yell.com

Advice Organisations

There are many advice organisations which provide a wide range of information and advice.

Citizens Advice Bureaux and Independent Advice Organisations

www.citizensadvice.co.uk

CITIzENS ADVICE BUREAUx

 

Central Belfast

Merrion Business Centre, 58 Howard St, Belfast. BT1 6PJ

028

9026 1970

(Covers South

 

Belfast)

Falls

8 Springfield Road, Belfast. BT12 7AG

 

Suffolk &

208

Andersonstown

028

9030 1916

Andersonstown

Road, Belfast, BT11 9EB

 

North Belfast

40-44 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15

028

9035 7990

2GG

 

Shankill

268

Shankill Road,

028

9026 1970

Belfast BT13 2BL

 

East Belfast

The Arches Centre, 1a Westminster Ave North, Belfast BT4 1NS

028

9022 3747

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INDEPENDENT ADVICE ORGANISATIONS

 

Falls Community

275-277 Falls Rd, Belfast BT12 6FD

028

9020 2030

Council

 

Falls Women’s

256-258 Falls Rd Belfast BT12 6AL

028

9032 7672

Centre

 

East Belfast

85 Castlereagh Street, Belfast BT5 4NF

028

9096 3003

South Belfast

Windsor Women’s Centre 136-144 Broadway, Belfast BT12 6HY

028

9023 5451

 

Ballynafeigh Community Development Association 283 Ormeau Rd Belfast BT7 3GG

028

9049 1161

 

Southcity Resource & Development Centre, 2 Maldon Street, Belfast BT12

028

9050 4747

6HE

 

Chinese Welfare

1 Stranmillis Embankment, Belfast BT7 1GB

028

9028 8277

Association

 

NORTH BELFAST ADVICE PARTNERSHIP

 

Ardoyne

111

Etna Drive, BT14 7NN

028

9071 5165

Association

   

Ballysillan

Willowgrove Centre 925-927 Crumlin Road BT14 8AB

028

9039 1272

Community

 

Forum

 

Ligoniel

Wolfhill Centre, 148 Ligoniel Road BT14 8DT

028

9039 1225

Improvement

 

Association

 

Tar Isteach

133

Hillman Street, BT15 2FX

028

9074 6664

Vine Centre

193

Crumlin Road, BT14 7DX

028

9035 1020

North Belfast

151 Cliftonville Road, BT14

028

9074 9944

Senior Citizens

6JR

 

Forum

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Additional Organisations

Advice NI

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Advice NI has a wide range of member organisation who give free, impartial advice. For more information check their website. www.adviceni.net Tel: 028 9064 5919

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is an independent public body established under the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The Commission is responsible for promoting awareness of and enforcing anti-discrimination law on the following grounds:- age, disability, race, sex (including marital and civil partner status, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity), sexual orientation, religious belief and political opinion . For more information please see the Your Rights and the Law section of the website. Tel: 028 9050 0600 www.equalityni.org

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The Law Centre (NI)

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Promotes social justice and provides specialist legal support to advice giving organisations and disadvantaged individuals. They deliver legal services to members in community care, employment, immigration, social security and mental health. They work in partnership with Advice NI and Citizens Advice Bureau. For further information about their services go to their website. Tel: 028 9024 4401. www.lawcentreni.org

Labour Relations Agency Tel: 028 9032 1442 www.lra.org.uk

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Tel: 028 9024 3987 www.nihrc.org

Women’s Aid Support & Resource Centre Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid. Tel: 028 9066 6049 Open 9am - 5.30pm. 24 hour 7 days a week Helpline Tel: 0800 917141

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Police non-emergency Tel: 084 5600 8000 to contact your nearest station through the exchange. Police Emergency number 999 from any telephone and 112 can also be used from a mobile.

Disability Action

Disability Action works with disabled people with various disabilities; physical, mental, sensory, learning and hidden. Disability Action works to ensure that people with disabilities attain their full rights as citizens, by supporting inclusion, influencing Government policy and changing attitudes in partnership with disabled people.

Tel: 028 9029 7880 Textphone: 028 9029 7882 Website: www.disabilityaction.org

Asylum Seeker - who is destitute, (i.e. you are homeless or can’t buy food) financial support may be provided by the Home Office, NICRAS, RAG or Bryson One Stop Service for Asylum Seekers.

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UK Border Agency (UKBA)

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The UK Border Agency to find out about your immigration status or about working in the UK www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk Belfast Public Enquiry Office Tel: 087 0606 7766

Asylum Support Customer Contact Centre on Tel: 084 5602 1739 between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays

Refugee Action Group – RAG www.refugeeactiongroup.com

NI Community for Refugees and Asylum Seekers - NICRAS www.nicras.org.uk Tel: 028 9024 6699

Bryson One Stop Service for Asylum Seekers Tel: 028 9043 9226

Their 24hour emergency contact Tel: 028 9024 2025

Bryson Intercultural Tel: 028 9024 4639 www.brysongroup.org

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Police and Reporting Crime

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)

The PSNI is committed to making Northern Ireland safer through progressive, professional policing. They aim to make their services accessible to the whole community. If you need any further information in your language please contact the PSNI.

1. The role of the Police (PSNI)

In this country may be different from that in your own country. Their role is to uphold and enforce the law and to protect the public. As a foreign national you have the same right to protection as a British national. The PSNI have a responsibility for public safety and you should be confident in asking them for assistance.

2. Contact PSNI

You can contact the PSNI by telephone, email, in writing and in person. If you do not speak English

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you will be transferred to an interpreter. PSNI, Police Headquarters, 65 Knock Road, Belfast BT5 6LE Tel: 084 5600 8000 www.psni.police.uk.

3. Hate Crime

Reporting race hate crime

PSNI operates an online form where you can inform police about any incident which is perceived to have

been committed against another person because of their race, religion, political opinion, disability or sexual orientation /identification. These incidents are commonly referred to as ‘Hate Crime.’ Reporting incidents will help the Police Service tackle hate crime. The information you provide is important and will enable the police to identify areas of concern, patterns of behaviour and may assist in identifying and prosecuting offenders. You can report a hate crime online at:-

www.psni.police.uk/index/advice-and-

legislation/advice_hate_crime/hate_crime_

reporting.htm

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In an emergency you should dial 999, and for non- emergency calls Tel: 0845 600 8000 to contact your nearest station.

Additional support organisation:

The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) has an Online Incident Report Form.

www.nicem.org.uk/services/support-to-victims-

of-racial-harassment-and-discrimination/report-

an-incident

Bilingual Community Safety Advocacy Scheme

The scheme exists to support minority ethnic communities in Belfast to reduce the fear of crime and improve communication between government services to help you live safely.

Chinese Welfare Association Bilingual Community Safety Advocate Tel: 07888 398630

Polish Association Bilingual Community Safety Advocate Tel: 07916 574225

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South Belfast Roundtable Race Relations Co- ordinator Tel: 07811 901722

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) encourages reporting to their district offices. Tel: 034 4892 0900

The PSNI Non-emergency and general enquiries Tel: 0845 600 8000 Crimestoppers Tel: 0800 555 111

4. Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a global problem and a local problem that is happening here in our community. Men, women and children are tricked and deceived and moved from their communities to be exploited. Women are forced to provide sexual services in brothels and men forced to work in agricultural and food processing industries for example. Children may be forced to beg or commit street crime. Traffickers treat human beings as ‘commodities’ who are bought and sold and resold making huge profits for the traffickers. If they complain they are subjected

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to force or the threat of force. These threats often extend to their families back in their home countries.

You may see or hear about someone who might not speak English, have marks of physical abuse, such as bruises, cuts or cigarette burns, is afraid of adults, not allowed to keep money, or live in overcrowded property.

If you think someone is being forced or tricked into

sexual exploitation, domestic labour, forced street crime or being groomed contact CRIMESTOPPERS Tel: 0800 555 111 or MIGRANT HELP Tel: 07766 668781

a 24 hour 7 days a week helpline.

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Social responsibilities

1. Litter fines and enforcement

It is a criminal offence to drop litter or dump rubbish. Each council has an enforcement team responsible for enforcing laws relating to litter and waste. They can fine or prosecute offenders. If you drop litter or dump rubbish, you may face the following penalties:

• a £80 fixed penalty notice (as at July 2012)

• a fine of up to £2,500 for more serious offences.

www.belfastcity.gov.uk/streetcleaning/

enforcement

2. Drinking in public

Anti-social behaviour arising from binge drinking (drinking large quantities in a short space of time) has meant some towns and cities have now designated places where drinking alcohol in public is not allowed. If you are caught drinking in these areas you may be liable for a £50 fixed penalty (as at July

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2012). Should you be found guilty of being drunk and disorderly in a public place, you may not only be liable for a fixed penalty of £80 (as at July 2012), but you could receive an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO). www.nidirect.gov.uk/sensible-drinking

3.

Weapons

It is an offence in the United Kingdom to carry weapons, such as knives or guns, even if they are intended for your own protection. For more information go to:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/knives-and-the-law

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Currency and Banking

1. Northern Ireland currency

Northern Ireland uses the pound sterling (£), the currency in circulation in England, Scotland and Wales. Unlike the Euro which is used in the Republic of Ireland, pound sterling is not linked to the Euro.

2. Declaring cash when entering or leaving the UK

If travelling to/or from a country outside the European Union you must declare any cash of 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in other currencies) to HM Revenue & Customs. Find out

what you need to do to declare cash when entering or leaving the UK.

www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-

services/travel-transport-and-roads/travelling-

abroad/bringing-goods-or-cash-into-the-uk/

declaring-cash-when-entering-or-leaving-the-uk.

htm

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3. How do I open a bank account?

There are many banks in the UK and they offer different arrangements and levels of service. You should spend some time finding the bank which offers the best service for you. Ask friends or neighbours community members which banks they have found most helpful. When choosing a bank, you need to consider:-

• The services the bank will offer you and what charges it will make

• The documents that are required by the bank in order to open an account

• Many UK banks will ask to see an identification document and a document confirming your address in the UK (for example a contract for accommodation)

• If you experience problems opening a bank account contact the Citizens Advice Bureau (see page 49 for contact details)

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4. What I will need to open a bank account?

Proof of Identity – An ID card such as passport, national ID issued in English and your native language or your driving licence.

Proof of address – This can be provided by a utility bill (gas, electricity, telephone bill etc) a letter or a contract from your landlord or any official mail with your name on it.

Proof of employment – A letter from your employer on company paper may also be required.

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Transport

• Public transport

• Private hire taxis

• Cycling

• Pedestrians

• Driving in Northern Ireland

1. Public transport

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How do I use the bus services?

Bus stops can be found on the roadside on all bus routes. Main bus stops will have a timetable displayed. There are a number of different ticket types. Ask the driver about the cheapest ticket for your type of journey and pay the exact fare in cash if possible. Many buses have special areas for wheel chairs, buggies and shopping trolleys. If the bus is very full you may have to stand/ or in extreme cases wait for the next bus. Press the bell once for the bus to stop. Check where the bus leaves from for your return journey. Further information can be found on www.translink.co.uk

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Belfast is served by Translink’s Metro service. You have a choice of tickets for the Metro service that can be bought from the Ticket Kiosk at Donegal Square West (beside the City Hall) or on the bus.

For buses going to locations outside Belfast there are two main bus stations. North and East bound services from Belfast depart the Laganside Buscentre in Donegall Quay - South and West depart from the Europa Buscentre in Great Victoria Street. These include services to Belfast’s two airports George Best Airport and Belfast International Airport.

How do I use the train services?

Buy your ticket before boarding the train from the main stations or on the train for smaller stations. If you use the train regularly you can buy weekly, monthly or annual tickets online or at one of the main stations found at Botanic, Europa, Central or York Street. www.translink.co.uk Tel: 028 9066 6630

There are reduced fares on buses and trains if you are under 16, a student or pensioner.

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You can wave a taxi in the street or order one by telephone. All taxis need to be registered and have an official badge displayed. www.yell.com.

3. Cycling

Whether you use a bike for fun or to get to school or work, cycling is a good way to get around.

For rules and information on cycling and rules of using the road go to the links below. www.nidirect.gov.uk/cycling

www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-

services/motoring/the-highway-code/59-82-

rules-for-cyclists

4. Pedestrians

Footways or footpaths (including any path along the side of a road) should be used if provided. Where possible, avoid being next to the kerb with your back to the traffic. If you have to step into the road,

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look both ways first. Always show due care and consideration for others. For more information on rules of the road for pedestrians go to:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-

services/motoring/the-highway-code/1-35-rules-

for-pedestrians

5. Driving in Northern Ireland

How am I expected to drive in the UK?

If you wish to drive a car in the UK, you must be over 17 years of age and have a valid driving licence. When you are driving or are a passenger in a private vehicle in the UK, you are required by law to wear a seatbelt. Currently, children under the age of 12 years or 135cm in height must be secured into an approved child seat.

Every time you drive your car, make sure it is roadworthy and the essentials, such as brakes, all lights etc are fully functional.

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It is against the law to use a mobile telephone whilst

driving (unless you have a hands-free kit in your car).

There are serious penalties for doing so, you can receive a fine, points on your licence or could cause an accident.

Familiarise yourself with the ‘Highway code’. This

provides the rules for road users in the UK. Obtain

a copy from Belfast Central Library or buy a copy in any good bookshop.

www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-

services/motoring/the-highway-code

6. What driving licence do I need to drive in the UK?

Full information on valid driving licences and fees can be obtained by visiting the DVLNI www.dvlni.gov.uk

European Community/European Economic Area

Licences issued in the European Community and three other countries in the European Economic Area make up two groups that are treated equally.

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The full list of EC COUNTRIES are:-

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Republic of Cyprus

Romania

Slovenia

Slovakia

Spain

Sweden

United Kingdom

The list of EEA COUNTRIES are:- Iceland Liechtenstein Norway.

Visitors - If you hold a valid European Community licence and you are visiting Northern Ireland, you can drive any vehicle for as long as your licence remains valid. The appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle you wish to drive must be shown on your licence.

Residents - If you have a valid European Community licence, this will authorise you to drive in this country for the periods set out below. Alternatively, you can apply to exchange your licence for a Northern Ireland one providing you meet the specified conditions for

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exchange. Provided your licence remains valid you may drive in NI:

• Ordinary Licence Holders - Until aged 70 or for 3 years after becoming resident whichever is the longer period

• Vocational Licence Holders - Until aged 45 or for 5 years after becoming resident whichever is the longer period. If you are aged over 45 (but under 65) until your 66th birthday or for 5 years after becoming resident whichever is the shorter period

If you are aged 65 or over for 12 months after becoming resident – In order to continue driving after these periods, a Northern Ireland driving licence must be obtained

• Provisional Licence - Before you can learn to drive a car, moped or motorcycle you must apply for a provisional driving licence. www.dvlni.gov.uk

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7. How do I get car insurance, an MOT certificate, a tax disc?

Car Insurance

To drive in the UK, you must have a valid insurance certificate. It is advised that you gather several quotations for insurance before you decide on the appropriate insurance to purchase. These can be gathered direct from insurance companies or from insurance brokers who search for the best quotes for you. You can find insurance companies and brokers in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet. www.yell.com

Vehicle Test Certificate - MOT

Everyone who uses a vehicle on the road is required to keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test is required by law for vehicles over three years old. Its purpose is to ensure that vehicles are checked at least once a year to ensure that they comply with key roadworthiness and environmental requirements. If your car fails the MOT, it is illegal to drive it until the faults are corrected. You are allowed to drive from the test centre to a garage or your home.

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It is a legal requirement for all vehicles on the road to have a valid tax disc displayed on the windscreen. Tax discs are purchased for either six or twelve months at the Motor Tax Office in Gasworks or online with DVLNI.

If you are keeping your vehicle off of the road for a period of time you need to declare SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). To declare SORN you need to complete a V890 application form available from Post Offices or the DVLNI website. All information on vehicle and drivers licences can be found at www.dvlni.gov.uk

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Leisure

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1. What sport and leisure facilities are available in Belfast?

Visit the Belfast City Council Website (Leisure and sport) to search for:-

What is on in Belfast?

• Arts

• Libraries

• Museums

• Parks and Open Spaces

• Sports, Clubs and Community Centres

• Outside Belfast

• TV licence

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2. What is on Guide in Belfast?

The Welcome Centre is the official one stop shop for Belfast and Northern Ireland. They have the information and the tickets to help you explore the city and beyond. The Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, Belfast. BT1 5AD Tel: 028 9024 6609 www. gotobelfast.com

3. Art Galleries

There are a wide range of art galleries located across Belfast. To find out more go to the Belfast City Council website. www.belfastcity.gov.uk/PublicArt

The Arts Council for Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of NI is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. They are the main support for artists and arts organisations, offering a broad range of funding opportunities through their Exchequer and National Lottery funds. Tel: 028 9038 5200 E: info@artscouncil-ni.org www.artscouncil-ni.org

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Northern Ireland’s leading organisation for the promotion of ethnic arts. They are an organisation that proudly promotes all cultures. www.artsekta. org.uk

MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre)

A selection, creation and mix of music, theatre,

dance and art – bringing the very best of local and international talent under one roof. www.themaclive.com

4.

Libraries

There are a number of Libraries found across Belfast.

It is free to join the library, which you can do with a form of ID.

Libraries NI is public library service for Northern

Ireland aims to provide and promote a range of high quality library and information services for everyone. There are a variety of services and activities aimed

at families and children. To find your nearest Library

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and the range of activities go to the Northern Ireland Library website. www.ni-libraries.net

5. Museums

There are a number of museums in Belfast with the Ulster Museum, located in Botanic Gardens, being the largest. There is also the Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra. For more information about all the museums go to the NI Museum www.nimc. co.uk The Titanic building has the full story of the iconic ship for more information go to their website. www.the-titanic.com

6. Parks and Open Spaces

Belfast has a wide variety of parks, sports pitches, playing fields, open spaces and playgrounds. It is also home to a diverse range of trees, wildlife and horticulture, as well as attractions like Belfast Zoo, Malone House and Belfast Castle. www.belfastcity. gov.uk/parksandopenspaces/index

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7. Sports Clubs and Centres

There are a wide range of clubs and centres across Belfast. For details of what is available check the Sports Council website for information. Tel: 028 9038 1222. www.sportni.net

8. Leisure Centres

Belfast City Council has ten leisure centres that include gyms, swimming pools and a wide range of activity classes.

To find out more about any centres, Tel: 028 9027 0344 or email leisure@belfastcity.gov.uk www.belfastcity.gov.uk/leisurecentres/index.asp

There are also a large number of private gyms across Belfast. You can get contact details for them from:

www.yell.com.

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9. Youth clubs near you

Your local education and library board (ELB) or church may run youth clubs or drop-in centres where you can catch up with your friends and meet others. You can also find out whether your ELB runs any classes that you may be interested in. They may organise a whole range of activities, such as drama groups and sport classes, without you even realising. The following link will let you search for your local youth club. www.belb.org.uk/Youth

10. Community Centres

Are located across Belfast and provide a wide range of services and activities. www.belfastcity.gov.uk/ communitycentres/index.asp

11. Outside Belfast

To find out about trips and what is happening in Belfast and across Northern Ireland go to The Welcome Centre. 47 Donegall Place, Belfast. BT1 5AD. www.gotobelfast.com Tel: 028 9023 9026.

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12. Do I need a television licence?

• If you have a television, a video recorder, a set top box, a DVD recorder or a computer which can receive broadcast programmes, then you are required by law to have a valid television licence

• A television licence can be bought from a shop displaying PayPal or from the TV Licensing website. It costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 (as at July 2012) for a black and white TV Licence. www.tvlicensing.co.uk

• Cash Easy Entry scheme allows you to spread the payments of your television licence weekly, fortnightly or monthly

• A television licence must be renewed every year and re-registered if you move house

• If you live in a rented property with a television, you need to make sure the property has a licence. The landlord may be responsible, but the property lease should be checked in case it is the responsibility of the tenant. If there is no licence for the property then both landlord and tenant are responsible and could be fined

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• If you share a house, but have a separate tenancy agreement and have a television in your room, then you need a licence. If you share a house and there is only one television in a communal area then only one licence is needed.

Voting

1. What is voting?

Voting is your chance to help to choose the people who run Northern Ireland, the UK, Europe and your local area. The time to vote is called election. It does not cost to vote.

2. Who can vote?

Almost all men and women over 18 years of age can vote. EU and qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in Northern Ireland can register to vote. However they must have been resident in Northern Ireland for the previous three months. Registering to

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vote means EU citizens can vote for Northern Ireland Assembly, local government and European elections. Only UK, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizens on the electoral register can vote for elections to the UK Parliament.

3. Why should I register to vote?

It gives you a say on important issues that affect you, everything from roads and recycling in your area, to education and climate change – You may think you don’t want to vote now, but if an issue comes up that you want to have your say on, if you’re on the register you’ll have the chance to vote on it. Remember, registering to vote doesn’t mean you have to, it just means you can if you want to. If you do not register, you can’t vote! To vote in any UK elections, you have to be on the electoral register.

4. How do I vote?

Most people in the UK choose to cast their vote in person at a local polling station. Voting at a polling station is very straightforward and there is always a

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member of staff available to help if you are not sure what to do. If you are on the electoral register, you will receive a poll card before the election telling you where and when to vote. The polling station is often a school or local hall near where you live.

On Election Day, go to your local polling station. Polling station opening hours are 7am - 10pm. If you are disabled and need assistance getting to the polling station, contact your area electoral office to find out what help is available. You can also ask to have a companion with you when you vote, or staff in the polling station may be able to help you.

Tel: 080 0032 3700 to register. www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

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Working in belfast

• Working in the UK

• Categories of Workers

• Gaining Employment Support

• Wages and Deductions

• Working in the UK - Individual Rights and Individual Responsibilities

• Introduction to the benefit system

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Working in UK

National Insurance Number in Belfast (NINO).

In order to work in the UK you will need a National Insurance Number. You can apply for a National Insurance Number in Conor Buildings Jobcentre in Great Victoria Street, Belfast. If you need a translator for your appointment you need to request one when making your appointment. Tel: 028 9054 5476 / 028 9054 5477

Categories of Workers

1 Who can work in the UK?

If you want to come to the United Kingdom to work, whether you can depends on where you are from. If you are not a British or Irish citizen or a citizen of one of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, you may need a visa before you travel here. If you have to get a visa, you’ll need to be cleared by officials at

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a British Overseas Mission in your country of origin. Once cleared, the entry clearance certificate, or visa, will be put into your passport or travel document.

2 EEA Nationals

EEA nationals - Nearly all EEA and Swiss nationals are free to enter, live and work in the United Kingdom without the need to apply for permission. If you are from a new European Union (EU) member state (called ‘accession states’) then you may need to register or ask permission.

The EEA countries are:

Austria

Hungary

Poland

Belgium

Iceland

Portugal

Bulgaria

Ireland

Romania

Cyprus

Italy

Slovakia

Czech Republic

Latvia

Slovenia

Denmark

Liechtenstein

Spain

Estonia

Lithuania

Sweden

Finland

Luxembourg

United Kingdom

France

Malta

 

Germany

Netherlands

 

Greece

Norway

 

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3 Bulgarian and Romanians A2 countries

The countries that joined the EU in 2007 are known as ‘A2 countries’, these are:

Bulgaria and Romania.

If you are a national of one of these countries you may be subject to worker authorisation requirements. You do not need permission before you come to UK but you will need a valid passport or ID card to enter the country. However, you may need to obtain worker authorisation from the UK Border Agency before accepting or starting any employment in the UK. Your employer will also need to apply for a Letter of Approval from the UK Border Agency.

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/

eea/bulgariaromania/liveworkuk

www.lawcentreni.org

Once you have been working legally as an employee in the United Kingdom for 12 months ‘without interruption’, you will have full rights of free movement and will no longer need Home Office

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permission to take work. You can then apply for a registration certificate confirming your right to live and work in the United Kingdom, although you are not obliged to do so.

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/

bulgarianandromaniannationals

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4 Migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area

Most migrants from outside Europe wishing to work in the UK must apply through one of the ‘tiers’ of the Points Based System. Tier 1 deals with Highly Skilled Workers, Tier 2 Skilled Workers and Tier 5 Temporary Workers. Tier 4 deals with international students and Tier 3, for unskilled workers, has not been introduced. Workers must apply in advance before coming to the UK.

Generally, to qualify under the Points Based System, prospective workers must have a certain number of

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‘points’, which are awarded for different attributes such as qualifications and language abilities.

For more information about the Points Based System see: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas- immigration/working/. An online points calculator will help you see if you are eligible to apply:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/pointscalculator

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Refugees

If you are in possession of a refugee status document, you are allowed to work in the UK.

Some asylum seekers may be entitled to apply for work permission while their asylum claim is pending. If you think you might be eligible, you should check with an immigration adviser.

Bryson Intercultural. 9 Lower Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NR. Tel: 028 9024 4639

Law Centre (NI) 124 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2GY Tel: 028 9024 4401

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Gaining Employment Support

1. Employment Support Organisations

Ask for help from your local employment support organisation.

South Belfast and City Centre – GEMS NI, East Belfast – Oasis and Stepping Stone, West Belfast – Job Assist Centres on the Shankill Road and Springfield Road, North Belfast – Ashton Community Trust and North City Training. Contact details on page 91-92

Each organisation has Mentors or Guidance Practitioners who will be able to help you with job search, application forms, completing CVs and interview techniques.

These organisations will help you present and market yourself both on paper and throughout the interview process. In the current employment market competition for jobs has increased. Employers and

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companies are receiving more applications than before, which means they have more of a choice of potential employees.

South Belfast and City Centre – GEMSNI Ltd 2nd Floor Ascot House. 24-31 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast. BT2 7DB Tel: 028 9033 2313 www.gemsni.org.uk

West Belfast – Upper Springfield Development Co Ltd. West Belfast JAC’s -Top of the Rock, 689