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Local authority checks on immigration status

This content applies to England

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

Rules that local authorities should follow when investigating immigration status to establish eligibility for accommodation allocation.


Procedures for assessing whether someone is an eligible person should reflect the public sector equality duty on all local authorities to make appropriate arrangements to secure that their functions are carried out with due regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity and good relations between people under the Equality Act 2010). In addition, as a provider of services a housing authority is prohibited from discriminating unlawfully on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.

See Equality law for further information on the Equality Act's implementation dates, key concepts, discrimination in relation to premises and public sector equality duty.

In particular, it is unlawful to discriminate:

  • in the terms on which accommodation is offered
  • by refusing applications, or
  • by treating one person differently from another[1]

Information from UKVI

The 2012 allocations code of guidance advises that authorities should satisfy themselves that housing applicants are eligible for an allocation of accommodation at the time of application and at the time an offer is made. In order to establish immigration status, local authorities may need to contact UKVI.[2] Where a local authority makes inquiries, these should be carried out within a reasonable period of time.[3]

[1] s.33 Equality Act 2010.

[2] paras 3.2 and 3.10 Allocation of accommodation: Guidance for local housing authorities in England, MHCLG, June 2012.

[3] R v Brent LBC ex parte Miyanger (1996) 29 HLR 628, QBD.

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