EU nationals: homeless and in work

If you are an EU or EEA national working in the UK, you may be eligible for help from the council when homeless. 

How the council can help if you are homeless

Many EU and EEA nationals are eligible for assistance from the council when homeless or facing homelessness. This could be advice only, help with emergency accommodation or help with finding longer-term housing.

If you are homeless and apply to the council for help, the council decides if you are eligible for assistance.

Find out about your rights to help if you have worked in the UK before but are not working anymore.

If the council won't help

The council must tell you in writing if it decides you are not eligible for assistance.

You must act quickly to challenge the council's decision. You have only 21 days to ask for a review.

Contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345. You may be able to get help from a legal aid lawyer if you claim certain benefits or have a low income.

You'll need a specialist immigration adviser if you are not sure about your immigration status.

Find out more from AdviceGuide about help with immigration problems.

For housing advice, call Shelter's helpline on 0808 800 4444 . Use Shelter's directory to find local advice.

Irish nationals

Irish nationals have a right to reside in the UK.

The council should follow the same rules as for British citizens and treat you as eligible for assistance for homelessness help.

EU and EEA nationals with a permanent right to reside

If you have a permanent right to reside in the UK, you are eligible for assistance from the council when homeless.

The most common way to get a permanent right to reside is through living and working in the UK for five years. There are other situations where you might have this right.

Find out more about homelessness rights when you have a permanent right to reside.

EU and EEA workers with worker status

You are eligible for assistance from the council when homeless if you are an EU or EEA national with worker status.

Most EU and EEA nationals employed in the UK have worker status, but there are different rules for Croatian nationals.

You have worker status if you are an EU or EEA national and are working full-time or part-time. You can be employed under a permanent or temporary contract.

It is not usually important what type of work you do or who your employer is.

If you have worker status and you stop working, you might keep your status if you are:

  • unemployed and registered with Jobcentre Plus
  • temporarily ill or injured
  • in the late stages of pregnancy or have recently given birth
  • doing vocational training

Find out more about your homelessness rights if you are out of work.

The council might say you do not have worker status and are not eligible for homelessness assistance if you earn less than £153 per week or your income often falls below this amount. Get advice if this happens to you.

Croatian nationals with worker status

Croatia joined the EU on 1st July 2013. There are different rules in place for Croatian nationals living and working in the UK than for other EEA nationals.

You are eligible for assistance from the council when homeless if you are a Croatian national with worker status.

To have worker status, you have to be working legally in the UK. For the first 12 months you can usually only work legally if you are sponsored by your employer and have a registration certificate from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You are only allowed to do certain types of work. This is known as 'worker authorisation'.

If you lose your job during the first 12 months of working in the UK, you lose your worker status and are not eligible for assistance from the council. But if you have a child in education in the UK, you might still be eligible for assistance under rules for EU family members.

The worker authorisation rules do not apply after you have worked legally in the UK for a continuous period of 12 months. If you lose your job after 12 months you could keep your worker status and be eligible for assistance in the same way as other EEA nationals. 

See Gov.uk for the worker authorisation rules for Croatian nationals.

Self-employed EU and EEA nationals

EU or EEA nationals who are self-employed in the UK are usually eligible for assistance from the council when homeless.

The rules are the same if you are a Croatian national and are self-employed.

You keep your self-employed status and remain eligible for assistance if you are temporarily unable to work because you are ill or have had an accident.

If your income from self-employment goes up and down, you should still be eligible for assistance as long as you continue to carry out tasks related to your business even when your income is low. 

Get advice if the council says your income is too low to make you eligible for assistance. You might be able to challenge the council's decision.

You must act quickly if you receive a written decision. You have only 21 days to ask for a review.

You are not usually eligible for assistance if you stop working on a self-employed basis and register as a jobseeker with Jobcentre Plus.

Students from the EU or EEA

You are unlikely to be entitled to help from the council when homeless if you are a student from the EU or EEA.

This is because your right to live and study in the UK is based on having enough money and resources to support yourself. You are expected to find and pay for your own accommodation.

You are eligible for assistance if you have worker status. If you are working while you are studying then you may be able to argue that you have worker status. This depends on how much you earn and the hours you work.

Family members of EU and EEA nationals

You may be eligible for assistance from the council if your current or former partner or family member is an EU or EEA national. This can apply even if you are from outside the EU.   

Find out more about homelessness rights when you are the family member of an EU or EEA national.

 

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