Refugees | Housing Rights Information (England & Wales) (2023)

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.


(Video) UK set to start deporting refugees to Rwanda | DW News

  • Are you a refugee or asylum seeker?
  • Are you a stateless person?
  • Special arrangements for asylum seekers
  • What documents might you be asked for?
  • What are your rights to housing and benefits?
  • What about your family members?

Are you a refugee or asylum seeker?

This page applies to you if:

  • you claimed asylum and have been granted leave to remain in the UK: this may be refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain
  • you have been given resettlement in the UK through the Gateway Protection Programme, Syrian Resettlement Programme,the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) set up to provide protection for Afghan citizens and others at risk (following the Taliban takeover in August 2021) or other official refugee resettlement programme
  • you were formerly employed as support staff to the UK armed forces in Afghanistan and were given permission to enter the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), this page applies to you unless your leave has a ‘no public funds’ condition
  • you have been given leave to remain as an unaccompanied child who was ‘stranded’ in Europe (sometimes called ‘Dubs children’), or ‘Calais leave’ because you were transferred from Calais camps to live with a relative in the UK

However, if you made a claim for asylum but you have not yet had a decision or are waiting for the results of a fresh claim, you are an asylum seeker and the special arrangements for your housing are explained below. If your asylum claim has been finally refused but you have not left the UK, you are a refused asylum seeker. This section does not apply to you. You may find some information to help you on the pages on people with social care needs or people who are destitute.

Are you a stateless person?

You are a stateless person if you are not recognised as a citizen by the law of any country. A stateless person can be granted leave in the same way as any other non-UK national (e.g. as a student, work permit holder etc.) but can also apply for five years' leave from the Home Office for that reason. The Home Office usually only do this if you do not meet the criteria for asylum or qualify for leave under any other category – although the law does not strictly require this. You can find out more about statelessness and stateless leave here.

Special arrangements for asylum seekers

If you applied for asylum but have not yet received a final decision or you are waiting for the result of an appeal against a refusal of asylum, you cannot get an allocation of housing from the council, or get help if you are homeless. You can't get universal credit or housing benefit to pay your rent. You can apply direct to a housing association or for private rented accommodation, but in England where immigration checks apply you will not have the ’right to rent’ and landlords cannot accept you as a tenant. You can however stay with friends or family.

(Video) The UK's response to Ukraine refugees - BBC News

As an asylum seeker you can apply to the Home Office for asylum support if you have no money or nowhere to live. The government website explains how, gives details of helplines that can help you do it, and what you will get. Asylum seekers are offered basic housing on a no-choice basis anywhere in the UK and some money to pay for food. This accommodation can be in hotels or army barracks as well as in normal housing, but your rights are still the same. If you already have somewhere to stay and do not need Home Office accommodation, you can still ask for money for food.

If you have been refused asylum but cannot travel home immediately you can also apply for support and accommodation. Support for refused asylum seekers is paid via a cashless payment card and accommodation is also on a no-choice basis.

What documents might refugees be asked for?

If you apply for housing or benefits you will be asked for:

  • The Immigration Status Document you were given with your asylum decision or when you arrived in the UK. This proves your identity and your eligibility. If you do not have one you will need a letter from the Home Office confirming your eligibility but will also need to prove your identity.
  • If you are leaving asylum support accommodation, the NASS 35 or other form that shows where you have lived and when your support and accommodation ends.
  • If you have applied to renew your leave, a copy of the documents you sent off and the receipt from the Home Office.

What are a refugee's or stateless person's rights to housing and benefits?

You have the right to get free advice and information from your local council (or an organisation they have commissioned to provide it) to help you if you are homeless, or if you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This advice must meet any special needs you may have that arise because you: are a care leaver, a former member of the regular armed forces, a victim of domestic abuse, leaving hospital, leaving detention (prison or similar institution), suffering from a mental illness or impairment, or if you are a member of any other group that the authority has identified as being at particular risk of homelessness.

If you made a successful claim for asylum. Even though you may have limited leave to remain in the UK, you have the right to apply for an allocation of housingfrom the council or from a housing association, toget help if you are homeless and to claim universal credit or housing benefit to help pay your rent. You should be offered a tenancy on the same terms as any other applicant, even if you are waiting to renew your leave or it is due to run out soon. You can also apply forprivate rented housing: in England where there are 'right to rent' checks, the landlord will need to see the documents proving your status, and if you have limited leave the landlord will need to see your renewed documents when renewing the tenancy.

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The Home Office provides a welcome guide for new refugees, in various languages, that explains housing rights and other issues.

If you have been granted indefinite or limited leave as a stateless person you can apply for private rented housing in England or Wales (but in England your landlord will need to see your documents) and you can also:

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  • claim universal credit or housing benefit to help pay your rent; and
  • apply for housing from the council or a housing association and get help if you are homeless.

What about your family members?

If you are an asylum seeker or a refused asylum seeker, you can apply for support and accommodation for your husband/wife/civil partner and children if they are living with you.

If you have refugee status, your husband/wife/civil partner and children are covered by your refugee status as well, even if they have just arrived or have not yet sorted out their status, as long as you started your family before your left your home country. So they are all eligible for housing and homelessness services and for universal credit or housing benefit. They can also apply for private rented housing but in England where immigration checks apply the landlord will need to see documents proving the status of all adults in the household, and if they have limited leave the landlord will need to see their renewed documents when renewing the tenancy.

If you are a ‘Dubs child’ and arrived with another child for whom you have parental responsibility (e.g. a brother or sister) then they will get the same leave as you and have the same rights.

(Video) The Ukraine refugees struggling to get to the UK

If you have another type of statusyour family members may have applied for asylum and arrived in the UK with you and would usually get leave on the same basis as you. If they arrive later, they must apply to stay through the asylum system, and will be asylum seekers until they get leave. This may cause problems with applications for homelessness help and benefits and with getting private rented housing in England, whereimmigration checks will be made if you apply for a tenancy.

See also:

  • Refugee status, humanitarian protection and discretionary leave to remain


What are the rights of refugees in the UK? ›

Once you've got refugee status, you'll get permission to work in the UK - in any profession and at any skill level. If you're not ready or able to look for work and have very little or no income, you can apply for benefits instead.

What are 3 rights that refugees are entitled to? ›

Rights of integration

the right at Article 3 not to discriminate between refugees, meaning that some refugees may not be treated worse than others. the right at Article 4 to freedom of religion and religious education of their children.

What are some refugee rights? ›

Those rights in the UN Refugee Convention essentially highlight that refugees who are fleeing to a different country should have freedom to work, freedom to move, freedom to access education, and basic other freedoms that would allow them to live their lives normally, just like you and me.

Can Ukrainian refugees get a council house? ›

The housing register – social housing

Ukrainians in the country under the Ukraine schemes can apply for social housing (Council and housing association) if they meet the local connection criteria and have a housing need.

What are 5 facts about refugees? ›

10 Eye-Opening Facts To Share On World Refugee Day
  • There are 79.5 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced—the highest figure ever recorded. ...
  • About 1% of the world's population is displaced. ...
  • 50% of the world's refugees are children. ...
  • Developing countries host more than 85% of the world's refugees.
1 Jun 2021

What benefits do refugees get in the UK? ›

Benefits available
  • Pension Credit.
  • Housing Benefit/Rate Relief.
  • Personal Independence Payment.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Carer's Allowance.
  • Tax Credits.
  • Universal Credit.

What rights are refugees denied? ›

About migration and human rights

Human rights violations against migrants can include a denial of civil and political rights such as arbitrary detention, torture, or a lack of due process, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing or education.

Do refugees pay for citizenship UK? ›

There's no fee if you're a refugee, a person with humanitarian protection or their partner or child.

What do refugees need the most? ›

Need for healthcare: a lot of refugees are tired or exhausted and sometimes distressed when they arrive. They may also be ill due to the unhealthy conditions experienced during their journey. 2. Welfare needs in terms both of protection and a warm meal, a bed, access to a bathroom, new clothes, rest etc.

What are refugee issues? ›

Difficulties finding adequate housing. Difficulties finding employment. Loss of community support. Lack of access to resources.

How are refugees rights protected? ›

Various rights that asylum-seekers and refugees have because they are seeking asylum or have been granted refugee protection, and for which their host country is responsible to guarantee. These rights are written down in the Refugee Convention and in human rights treaties.

How much do you get paid to house Ukraine refugees? ›

The Accommodation Recognition Payment (ARP) is a tax-free payment of €400 per month for each property used to provide accommodation to refugees from Ukraine. The payment will increase to €800 per month from 1 December 2022.

How much do you get to house a Ukrainian refugee? ›

The £350 thank you payment will be issued following checks being carried out, which will include a visit to your home. Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. This will be provided by the local council.

Can I offer a room to Ukrainian refugees UK? ›

If you want to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine, you can become a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Use this service to record your interest in becoming a sponsor. This service is for potential sponsors who have not yet been matched with a Ukrainian guest.

What problems do refugees face in the UK? ›

Refugees living in the UK face a variety of barriers to employment, including language barriers, non-recognition of qualifications, cultural differences and discrimination. 84% of refugees reported that they did not have sufficient English language ability to get a job.

What crimes do refugees commit? ›

According to Deutsche Welle, the report "concluded that the majority of crimes committed by refugees (67 percent) consisted of theft, robbery and fraud.

Where do refugees live in UK? ›

When an asylum seeker arrives in the UK, they are unlikely to know anyone here or have anywhere to go. The Home Office will house them in an initial accommodation centre.

Do refugees get free healthcare in UK? ›

Groups that are exempt from charge include: refugees (people who have been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection under the immigration rules) and their dependants.

Do you get paid to house a refugee? ›

It will not pay hosts; hosting is an altruistic relationship where no rent or services in lieu are due in exchange for the hosting. Refugees at Home will not arrange placements for children, or guests with serious mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

Do refugees have to pay council tax? ›

The council tax system classes refugees and foreign nationals as liable for council tax: they do not receive any automatic exemptions. This could mean that, for example, where a single person hosted a Ukrainian refugee, they could lose their single person discount on their council tax bill.

Who Cannot be a refugee? ›

Responsible persons are those who commit, instigate, aide in the commission of a particular crime, as well as those found to have participated in a joint criminal enterprise. Such persons cannot be invoke the right to family reunification either.

What 3 countries do most refugees come from? ›

More than 7 in 10 of all refugees under UNHCR's mandate and other people in need of international protection come from just five countries. Türkiye hosts the largest number of refugees, with 3.7 million people.
Welcome to UNHCR's Refugee Population Statistics Database.
Türkiye3.7 million
Uganda1.5 million
3 more rows
27 Oct 2022

Where are the 2022 refugees coming? ›

The increase in applications is likely to be due to the continued global increase in the number of people displaced due to war and conflict. In the year ending September 2022, the top five countries of origin of people seeking asylum were Albania, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Who protects refugee rights? ›

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

One of the agency s pressing tasks is to encourage governments to adopt fair and flexible processes to promote just and effective refugee law.

What are the 5 grounds on which a person can seek protection as a refugee? ›

They must have a well-founded fear of persecution for one of the above reasons to be a refugee and must meet other requirements.
The five reasons
  • race.
  • religion.
  • nationality.
  • membership of a particular social group, or.
  • political opinion.
21 Aug 2020

How are refugees mistreated? ›

Human rights abuses in offshore detention have been well documented. On Manus Island (in Papua New Guinea) and Nauru, refugees have faced torture, inhumane detention, overcrowding, violence from guards, sexual assault and rape, and mental harm.

How long can refugees stay in the UK? ›

You may be given permission to stay in the UK for a minimum of 30 months. This is known as 'temporary refugee permission to stay'. The exact amount of time depends on how your application is assessed. After 10 years, you can apply to settle in the UK under long residency rules.

Can refugees get a driver's license UK? ›

Since 2014, the Driving and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) is not allowed to give you a driving licence if you are not 'lawfully resident' in the UK. This applies to all people who do not have leave to remain* or leave to enter*.

Can refugees stay permanently? ›

Refugees can apply for indefinite leave to remain if they have had residence as a refugee for five years. Those granted refugee status will be eligible to apply at the end of their probationary periods.

What struggles do refugees face? ›

The most common issues among refugees are depression and anxiety, but more serious issues like post-traumatic stress disorder can also be found in populations affected by conflict, violence, and persecution. Mental health is health, regardless of who you are or where you live.

Who treats refugees Best? ›

The Four “Best” Countries for Refugee Resettlement
  • 1) Germany. The huge migration of refugees seeking asylum in Germany in autumn of 2015 has dominated the news for months. ...
  • 2) Sweden. ...
  • 3) The United States. ...
  • 4) Brazil.
3 Nov 2015

What food do refugees get? ›

Often the refugees will be provided with their staple food as a carbohydrate e.g.Rice, mealie meal, bread, oats or couscous. Unfortunately in a refugee camp, fresh fruit and vegetables are very difficult to get. For this reason, many refugees suffer from malnutrition.

Who is responsible for refugees? ›

The UN agency that helps refugees is UNHCR (also known as the UN Refugee Agency), which emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by that conflict. UNHCR was established on December 14, 1950 by the UN General Assembly with a three-year mandate to complete its work and then disband.

What can be done to help refugees? ›

You can help refugees by volunteering at a local resettlement agency; becoming an English tutor; a tour guide; a mentor to a family; donating money, furniture and household items; teaching other people about refugees; urging your elected officials to support refugee resettlement; and employing or encouraging local ...

What is the biggest refugee crisis? ›

The Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest humanitarian and development crisis in the world. Nearly 7 million Syrians are internally displaced, and 6.6 million have been forced to seek safety as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond.

Do refugees have human rights? ›

Asylum seekers and refugees are entitled to all the rights and fundamental freedoms that are spelled out in international human rights instruments. The protection of the refugee must therefore be seen in the broader context of the protection of human rights.

What are obligations of refugees? ›

Article 2 - General obligations

Every refugee has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order.

How human rights affect refugees? ›

“Human rights violations are a major factor in causing the flight of refugees as well as an obstacle to their safe and voluntary return home. Safeguarding human rights in countries of origin is therefore critical both for the prevention and for the solution of refugee problems.

Can I host a Ukrainian refugee family UK? ›

There are multiple Ukraine sponsorship government schemes in place in the UK that allow people to take in, host, house and provide homes for refugees from Ukraine. The UK Homes for Ukraine scheme is a sponsorship scheme that allows people and businesses in the UK to offer homes for Ukrainian refugees.

How much money do Ukrainian refugees get in UK? ›

If you have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, your local council will provide you with £200 per guest, which you do not need to pay back. You need to contact your local council to claim this payment. If you are unsure who your local council is, you can search for it using find your local council.

Can I offer a room to a Ukrainian refugee? ›

A sponsor must be able to provide accommodation and integration support for the refugee. Accommodation could come in the form of a spare room or even a spare house, if people own vacant buildings. People will not be required to provide meals to the refugees however they can if they like.

How do I adopt a Ukrainian refugee? ›

How to Adopt
  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider.
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Ukraine's Authorities to Adopt, and to be Matched with a Child.
  4. Adopt the Child in Ukraine.

Can I take in a Ukrainian family? ›

Check who you can apply to host

You can only host them if they're one of the following: a Ukrainian citizen. the partner of a Ukrainian citizen - this means their husband, wife, fiancé(e), civil partner, proposed civil partner, or a partner they've lived with for at least 2 years.

How do I host a Ukrainian refugee family? ›

At, you click a button labeled “to host refugees, click here,” and are prompted to create an account similar to an Airbnb account. Hosts do not have to list their precise location, just their nearest city and their contact information.

How can I help a refugee family? ›

How can I help refugees and people seeking asylum?
  1. Sign our Every Refugee Matters pledge. We want to see a more compassionate way to support refugees. ...
  2. Take part in Miles for Refugees. This June, every mile counts. ...
  3. Volunteer to help refugees. ...
  4. Use our teaching resources. ...
  5. Buy products designed by refugees.

How are refugees protected in the UK? ›

Family reunion and resettlement schemes are two routes to the UK that would qualify as safe and legal routes. Resettlement schemes offer protection for the most vulnerable refugees who are usually located in countries neighbouring crisis areas, having fled conflict or persecution at home.

How much does a refugee get in the UK? ›

Asylum seekers are not generally permitted to work in the UK while their claim is being considered. If they are destitute, they can apply for free accommodation, as well as asylum support, which is set at £40.85 a week, equivalent to £5.84 per day.

How long can a refugee stay in UK? ›

You may be given permission to stay in the UK for a minimum of 30 months. This is known as 'temporary refugee permission to stay'. The exact amount of time depends on how your application is assessed. After 10 years, you can apply to settle in the UK under long residency rules.

Who is responsible for refugees in UK? ›

It is the responsibility of the United Kingdom (UK) Home Office (HO), to receive and decide applications for asylum in this country under the terms of the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

What protection do refugees have? ›

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14), which states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries. The 1951 UN Refugee Convention (and its 1967 Protocol), which protects refugees from being returned to countries where they risk being persecuted.

Do refugees get housing UK? ›

When someone gets refugee status, they can no longer stay in asylum accommodation. They can choose where to live, but they have to pay for their rent or ask for government help – like any UK citizen.

Do refugees get free education in UK? ›

Asylum seekers are not usually eligible for either the 'home' rate of tuition fees or student finance. However, there are some organisations who may be able to help.

Do refugees pay council tax in the UK? ›

Please provide the names of the refugees, the date they moved in and evidence that they have permission to stay in the UK under the scheme. Council Tax Regulations require us to issue bills in the name of the residents and therefore the refugee will be liable to pay the 50% Council Tax bill.

How long before a refugee can work in UK? ›

Outstanding UKVI decision on protection grounds

To consider any permission to work application there must be an asylum claim or further submission on protection grounds that has not been decided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and has been outstanding for at least 12 months from the date the claim was lodged.

What are refugees struggling with? ›

Difficulties finding adequate housing. Difficulties finding employment. Loss of community support. Lack of access to resources.

Is England good for refugees? ›

The analysis found that Britain takes fewer refugees, offers less generous financial support, provides housing that is often substandard, does not give asylum seekers the right to work, has been known to punish those who volunteer and routinely forces people into destitution and even homelessness when they are granted ...

Where in the UK has the most refugees? ›

Asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application make up a higher share of the population in the north of England, the West Midlands and Wales, and a lower share in the South East, East of England and South West.


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