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People from abroad who are eligible for homeless assistance

This content applies to England

People from abroad are only entitled to homelessness assistance if they are eligible.

Who is eligible for assistance

The Housing Act 1996 provides that people from abroad are only entitled to homelessness assistance if they are eligible.[1]

People from abroad who are subject to immigration control are not eligible for assistance unless they fall into a class set out in the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006.

People who are not subject to immigration control are eligible for assistance unless they fall into a category of people who are specifically excluded by the 2006 regulations.

From 1 January 2021 EEA nationals are subject to immigration control and the same categories of eligibility apply as with people from the rest of the world. However, special provisions mean that some groups of EEA nationals will continue to be treated as not subject to immigration control. Their eligibility is determined based on the regulations as they applied before 1 January.

Chapter 7 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities covers eligibility for assistance.

There are different rules for British or Irish nationals.

Refugees

A person who has been granted either limited or indefinite leave to remain as a refugee is eligible for homelessness assistance.[2]

They are referred to as Class A in the regulations.

Refugees are usually granted five years' limited leave to remain. At the end of the five years, they will be considered for indefinite leave to remain.[3]

If an asylum seeker wins an asylum appeal and is found to be a refugee, they do not become eligible until the Home Office accepts the decision and issues the necessary documents.[4]

People with exceptional leave to remain

A person with exceptional leave to remain in the UK outside the immigration rules is eligible for homelessness assistance unless they are subject to a no recourse to public funds condition. This means they have to maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependants without recourse to public funds.[5]

They are referred to as Class B in the regulations.

Destitution domestic violence concession

The destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession is a form of exceptional leave that can be given to someone if:

  • they entered the UK as the partner of a British national or person with indefinite leave[6]
  • the relationship broke down as a result of domestic violence
  • they don’t have accommodation or the means to support themselves

The DDV Concession gives three months' limited leave with access to public funds while the Home Office considers their application for permanent leave to remain.

A person granted the DDV concession is eligible for homelessness assistance.

People with indefinite leave to remain and EU settled status

Indefinite leave to remain means that a person is not subject to any limitation or condition on their rights to enter or remain in the UK.

A person with indefinite leave to remain is eligible for assistance if they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[7]

They are referred to as Class C in the regulations.

Sponsored immigrants with indefinite leave to remain may not be eligible. A sponsored immigrant is a person who has been granted leave to remain on the basis of an undertaking from a sponsor, usually a relative. It must have been a specific condition of entry that a formal written undertaken was given that they would be maintained and accommodated without recourse to public funds.

A sponsored immigrant is eligible if either:

  • they have been in the Common Travel area for more than five years since they entered the UK or the start of the sponsor’s undertaking, whichever is later
  • the sponsor has died

People with EU settled status

Settled status under the EU settlement scheme is equivalent to indefinite leave to remain in the UK under immigration rules.

People with settled status are eligible for homelessness assistance if they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.

The rules are different for people with pre-settled status.

People with humanitarian protection

A person with humanitarian protection under immigration rules is eligible for homelessness assistance.[8]

Humanitarian protection is granted to people who are not recognised as refugees, but it is not safe for them to return to their country of origin.

They are referred to as Class D in the regulations.

Relevant Afghan citizens

Afghan citizens are eligible for homelessness assistance if they have limited leave to enter the UK under para 276BA1 of the immigration rules and are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[9]

This provision is for Afghan citizens who worked in Afghanistan for the UK government.

They are referred to as Class F in the regulations.

People with leave granted under Article 8

A person granted limited leave to enter or remain in the UK on the grounds of 'respect for family or private life' under Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention is eligible if both the following apply:[10]

  • the leave has been granted under para 276BE(1), para 276DG or Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules
  • the person is not subject to a 'no recourse to public funds' condition

They are referred to as Class G in the regulations.

Unaccompanied refugee children granted leave

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children resettled in the UK can be granted leave to remain under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 if they have not already been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection.[11]

They are referred to as Class H in the regulations.

A person granted leave under section 67 is eligible for homelessness assistance if they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[12]

People with Calais leave

As part of the Calais migrant camp clearance in 2016, more than 500 children were brought to the UK to reunite with family members. Some of these were granted a special Calais leave under immigration rules.

They are referred to as Class I in the regulations.

People with Calais leave are eligible for assistance if they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[13]

Family members of a relevant person of Northern Ireland

A person with limited leave to remain in the UK under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules is eligible if they:[14]

  • are a family member of a relevant person of Northern Ireland
  • would be eligible as a family member of an EEA worker or self-employed person if the relevant person of Northern Ireland was treated as an EEA national

They are treated as if they were the family member of an EEA worker or self-employed person eligible in accordance with regulation 4 of the Eligibility Regulations.

A relevant person of Northern Ireland is someone who:[15]

  • is either a British, Irish or dual British and Irish national
  • was born in Northern Ireland to at least one parent who was either a British, Irish, dual British and Irish national, or settled in Northern Ireland with no restrictions on their leave at the time of the person's birth

They are referred to as Class J in the regulations.

Stateless people

A stateless person with limited leave to remain under paragraph 405 of the Immigration Rules is eligible for assistance. They must be habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[16]

They are referred to as Class K in the regulations.

People with EU pre-settled status

Pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme is equivalent to limited leave to remain in the UK.

People with pre-settled status are eligible if they are exercising a qualifying right to reside.

The qualifying rights to reside are broadly the same as those that applied before 1 January 2021 and include a right to reside as a worker or self-employed person.

People with EU temporary protection

EEA nationals and their family members who had a right to reside on 31 December 2020 but have not yet obtained settled or pre-settled status have temporary protection. This applies until 30 June 2021.

EEA nationals and their family members who do not have settled or pre-settled status are eligible for assistance if they:

  • were exercising a right to reside immediately before 31 December 2020 (including the initial right of residence and as a jobseeker) and
  • have a qualifying right to reside at the time of their homeless application

See Additional Rules for EEA nationals with temporary protection for more information.

Frontier workers

A person who meets the definition of a frontier worker is eligible for homelessness assistance. They do not need to be habitually resident.[17]

A frontier worker is an EEA national who is working or self-employed in the UK, but is not primarily resident in the UK.[18]

They must have met this definition immediately before 31 December 2020 and continuously since.

Frontier worker status may be retained if the person is temporarily unable to work due to illness or accident, or is involuntarily unemployed and registered as a jobseeker after a period of work or self-employment.[19]

Commonwealth citizens with a right of abode

Some Commonwealth citizens have a right of abode in the UK. This means they are not subject to immigration control.

They are eligible for homelessness assistance as they are not among the categories of people excluded.

See Gov.uk for more information on which Commonwealth citizens have a right of abode.

Other people not subject to immigration control

There are some categories of people from abroad not subject to immigration control who are not specifically excluded.

These include diplomats and their family members based in the United Kingdom, and some military personnel.[20]

People ineligible for accommodation pending review

Local authorities have the power to accommodate people pending a review or appeal of a homelessness decision.

There are some people from abroad who are excluded from this. These are:

  • a person who has refugee status in another country outside the UK[21]
  • a former asylum seeker who has failed to cooperate with removal directions[22]
  • a person who is not an asylum seeker who is in the UK in breach of immigration laws[23]
  • certain failed asylum seekers with dependent children where the Secretary of State has certified that they have failed without reasonable excuse to take steps to voluntarily leave the UK[24]

Local authorities can only accommodate a person in one of these groups pending a review or appeal where it is necessary to avoid a breach of their human rights under the European Convention.[25]

[1] s.185 Housing Act 1996.

[2] reg 5(1)(a) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294.

[3] para 339R Immigration Rules, UKVI.

[4] Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, United Nations.

[5] eg 5(1)(b) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294.

[6] R (on the application of T) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 801.

[7] reg 5(1)(c) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294.

[8] reg 5(1)(d) (Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294.

[9] reg 5(1)(f) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294.

[10] reg 5(1)(g) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 inserted by reg 2(4)(c) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/965.

[11] s.67 Immigration Act 2016; see Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC1154, UKVI, 15 June 2018.

[12] reg 5(1)(h) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 as inserted by reg 2(3) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/730.

[13] See Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC1534, UKVI, 11 October 2018; reg 5(1)(i) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 as inserted by reg 4 Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1056.

[14] reg 5(1) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as amended by reg 5(d) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/667.

[15] reg 2(1) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as amended by reg 3(b) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/667.

[16] reg 5(1) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as amended by reg 5(d) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/667.

[17] reg 6(2)(j) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations SI 2006/1294 as inserted by reg 71 The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 (Consequential, Saving, Transitional and Transitory Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2020/1309.

[18] reg 3(1) The Citizens’ Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2020/1213.

[19] Reg 4 The Citizens’ Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2020/1213.

[20] para 7.11 Chapter 7 Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities.

[21] para 4(1) Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

[22] para 6 Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

[23] para 7 Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

[24] para 7A Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

[25] para 3 Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

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