New multilingual telephone advice service begins in London
16th June 2011: From Monday 20 June 2011, the Refugee Council’s Brixton office will start operating the free and confidential Own-Language Telephone Advice Service (OLTAS).
It will no longer provide a ‘drop in’ service and its current telephone advice will be transferred to OLTAS. This service is already successfully operating in our Birmingham office.
Refugees and asylum seekers who contact the Own-Language Telephone Advice Service will hear a recorded message which will include the option of being connected to an adviser who speaks their selected language or English. It will give advice, information and support over the telephone or, if necessary, book face to face appointments.
The Refugee Council said callers can talk directly to an adviser in Farsi, Pashtu, Arabic, Kurdish Sorani, Tigrinya and Mandarin. `If you do not speak any of these languages, you will have the option to speak to an adviser in English who will call you back using an interpreter or bilingual adviser. We are currently working on providing additional languages for advice.
`We will be unable to see refugees and asylum seekers who have not made an appointment through the telephone service.
`To contact the telephone advice service, simply call up 0808 808 2255 and follow the instructions to select the language required.
`For people with a hearing impairment, a minicom / textphone service is available at 0808 808 2259
`Calls made to this service from both mobile phones and landline numbers are free. Callers do not need to have any credit on their phone to contact us.
`The Own-Language Telephone Advice Service opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 1:00pm and from 2:00 to 5.00pm,’ the Council has asserted.