This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at

Overview of eligibility rules: non EEA/EU

This content applies to England

There are pending updates to this page following Brexit and the end of transition period on 31 December 2020

General introduction to eligibility for assistance for people subject to immigration control.


A person who is subject to immigration control is not eligible for assistance under the homelessness legislation unless s/he is in one of the classes of exceptions set out in the regulations[1] - see Persons eligible for assistance: non EEA/EU.

Subject to immigration control

For the purpose of establishing eligibility for homelessness assistance and allocation of social housing,  person is subject to immigration control if s/he requires leave to enter or remain in the UK, whether or not such leave has been given.[2] Anyone who requires a visa to enter the UK is subject to immigration control.

The following people do not require leave to enter or remain in the UK:

EEA/EU nationals who do not have a right to reside in the UK are subject to immigration control.[3]

The above definition of a person ‘subject to immigration control’ applies only to eligibility for homelessness assistance and allocation of social housing. Entitlement to benefits is similar (but not the same) and is based on a different definition.[4]

For information on the rules governing the eligibility of all EEA/EU, British and Irish nationals, see Eligibility: EEA/EU nationals and British nationals.

Help for ineligible persons

People who are not eligible for homelessness assistance may be able to claim assistance under the Children Act 1989 if there are children in the household, or the Care Act 2014 if an adult in the household has unmet needs for care and support because s/he suffers from illness or disability. For details, see the section Ineligible migrants.

Windrush generation

Migrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries who settled in the UK before 1973 (often referred to as the ‘Windrush generation’) and who have no proof of their immigration status may face difficulties when applying for homelessness assistance. Individuals in this situation may wish to contact the Home Office's Windrush scheme and/or seek help from a certified immigration adviser. Once a homeless applicant in this situation obtains proof of either British citizenship or an immigration status that confers access to public funds, s/he would be eligible for assistance (see Persons eligible for assistance: non EEA/EU). The guidance and documents relating to the Windrush scheme can be found on


The legislative references and the footnotes on this page reflect the law in England. In Wales, very similar rules made under Welsh legislation apply, but the references may be different. Contact Shelter Cymru for more information about the law in Wales.

[1] s.185(2) Housing Act 1996.

[2] s.13(2) Asylum and Immigration Act 1996; s.7(1) Immigration Act 1988; s.1 Immigration Act 1971.

[3] s.7(1) Immigration Act 1988; Barnet LBC v Ismail and Abdi [2006] EWCA Civ 383.

[4] s.115(9) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; EE v City of Cardiff (HB) [2018] UKUT 418 (AAC).

Back to top