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.

How the council can help if you're homeless

You can ask the council for help if you're homeless or at risk of losing your home within 28 days. 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 meet the residence condition if you have 'worker or self-employed status'.

Find out more about the other qualifying conditions for:

  • emergency accommodation
  • longer-term housing

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

What counts as EU worker status

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 £155 per week. Get advice if this happens.

Keeping worker 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

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

Croatian nationals with worker status

Croatia joined the EU on 1st July 2013. There are currently different rules in place for some Croatian nationals working in the UK.

For your first 12 months in UK you are usually subject to 'worker authorisation'. This means you can only work legally if you:

  • are sponsored by your employer 
  • have a registration certificate from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). 

You lose your worker status if you lose your job during the first 12 months. 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 don't apply once you've 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

You are eligible for assistance if you're classed as a self-employed EU or EEA national (including Croatians).

You keep your self-employed status and meet the residence condition if you are temporarily unable to work because you're ill or have had an accident.

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 make you eligible for assistance. You might be able to challenge the council's decision.

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're 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'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 17 Oct 2017 | © Shelter

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