Homeless EU nationals: if you are working

You can ask the council for homeless help if you're an EU national who works in the UK. The council should give you advice and might have to help with emergency or longer-term housing.

Homeless help from the council

You can ask the council for help if you're homeless or at risk of losing your home within 8 weeks. This is called a homeless application.

The council decides if you meet immigration and residence conditions for homelessness help. This is called being 'eligible for assistance'. 

You're eligible for assistance if you have 'EU worker or self-employed status'.

Find out more about the other qualifying conditions for:

  • emergency accommodation
  • longer-term housing

You might not get housing even if you meet the residence condition. Some homeless people only qualify for advice. 

When you count as an EU worker

You have worker status if you're in 'genuine and effective' employment in the UK. 

This can include part-time or temporary work but you usually need to work at least 10 hours a week. 

The council might say you don't have worker status if you earn less than £162 per week before tax. Get advice if this happens.

When you count as a self-employed EU national

You have self-employed status if your business is 'genuine and effective'. If your average earnings are at least £162 per week before tax you qualify automatically. 

If your income from self-employment goes up and down, you should still qualify 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 qualify for homelessness help. You might be able to challenge the council's decision.

Keeping your status if you stop work

You usually keep your worker status for a time 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

You can also keep your self-employed status if you:

  • can't work temporarily because of illness or accident
  • become unemployed and register with Jobcentre Plus  

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

Students from the EU or EEA

You're unlikely to qualify for homeless help from the council if you're an EU student.

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

If you're working while studying then you may have worker status. This depends on how much you earn and the hours you work.

Family members of EU and EEA nationals

You may have residence rights based on being a:

  • current or former partner of an EU national
  • dependent relative of an EU national

This can apply even if you are from outside the EU.

Find out about homelessness rights if you're a family member of an EU national.

If the council won't help

Get independent housing advice:

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

Help with a review

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

You have 21 days to ask for a review if you think the decision is wrong.

You can get advice and help through legal aid if you're on a low income: 

Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify

Last updated 15 Jan 2019 | © Shelter

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