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Housing help for asylum seekers

An asylum seeker is someone who comes to the UK, often fleeing persecution, torture or war, and applies for refugee status. Until refugee status is granted, such a person remains an asylum seeker. Asylum seekers often encounter homelessness and face difficulty in obtaining accommodation.

The Council has a statutory responsibility to offer assistance to asylum seekers under the National Assistance Act of 1948. We have a duty to provide accommodation and benefits to asylum seekers whilst they await the outcome of their case with the Home Office.

However, following changes in the law due to the Immigration and Asylum Act of 1999, asylum seekers that arrive after April 2000 no longer have a right to assistance and do not have to be provided for by the Council. Instead, the Home Office provides support through the National Asylum Support Service (NASS).

We administer the various benefits asylum seekers are entitled to and also make provisions for temporary accommodation.

Eligibility for housing help mainly concerns immigrations status. You are not eligible if:

  • You are from a foreign country and are subject to immigration control (there are exceptions to this which will be established on investigation)
  • You are a person who is not subject to immigration control and may not be eligible under certain conditions that will be established at assessment

If you have come to the UK to seek work you are not necessarily entitled to access public funds and to apply for social housing.

If you have come from abroad since 3 April 2000 and you are seeking asylum in the UK you are not eligible for assistance. You may be entitled to help from the Home Office while your claim for asylum is being decided. In some cases, social services may also be able to help. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice concerning your application.

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