People from abroad who are eligible for homeless assistance

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

This content applies to England

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. For new arrivals the same categories of eligibility apply as with people from the rest of the world. Special provisions mean that some groups of EEA nationals already resident or working in the UK will continue to be treated as not subject to immigration control. The eligibility of people in these groups 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 are 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.[8]

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.[9]

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.

People with leave granted under Article 8 HRC

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 from Hong Kong with British National (Overseas) status

From 29 June 2021, a person with limited leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom granted under the Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas) of the Immigration Rules is eligible for homelessness assistance, unless they are:[17]

  • subject to the 'no recourse to public funds' condition

  • not habitually resident in the Common Travel Area

Relevant Afghan citizens

Afghan citizens are eligible for homelessness assistance if they have limited leave to remain in the UK under either the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy or the the previous (ex gratia) scheme for locally employed staff in Afghanistan.[18]

Afghan citizens are also eligible from 16 September 2021 if all of the following apply:[19]

  • they have another form of leave to enter or remain

  • their leave is not subject to a no recourse to public funds condition

  • they left Afghanistan in connection with the collapse of the government on 15th August 2021

This does not include sponsored immigrants unless they have either been in the Common Travel area for more than five years, or their sponsor has died.

From 16 September 2021 Afghan citizens do not have to be habitually resident to be eligible.

Afghan citizens are referred to as Class M 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 right to reside that would make them eligible under the EU rules. [20]

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 applied to the EU settlement scheme before 30 June 2021 but have not yet obtained settled or pre-settled status have temporary protection. This applies until the day when leave is granted, or if an appeal is made, the day that appeal is determined.

EEA nationals and their family members who have temporary protection while awaiting a decision are eligible if they:

  • were exercising an EU right to reside immediately before 31 December 2020 (including the initial right of residence and as a jobseeker) and

  • have a right to reside under retained EU law at the time of their homeless application that would make them eligible under the EU rules

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.[21]

A frontier worker is an EEA national who is working or self-employed in the UK, but is not primarily resident in the UK.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

Last updated: 16 September 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.185 Housing Act 1996.

  • [2]

    reg 5(1)(a) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294; para 7.14(a) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [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; para 7.14(b) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [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; para 7.14(c) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [8]

    para 7.10 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [9]

    reg 5(1)(d) (Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) England Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294; para 7.14(d) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [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; para 7.14(f) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [11]

    s.67 Immigration Act 2016; see Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC1154, UKVI, 15 June 2018; para 7.14(g) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 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; para 7.14(h) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [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; para 7.14(j) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [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; para 7.14(i) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [17]

    reg 5(1)(l) The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as inserted by reg 5 The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/665; para 7.14(k) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [18]

    reg 5(1)(m)(i) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as inserted by reg (2)(4) The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1045.

  • [19]

    reg 5(1)(m)(ii) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as inserted by reg (2)(4) The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1045.

  • [20]

    paras 7.9, 7.18-7.19 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [21]

    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; paras 7.9 and 7.18(f) Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [22]

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

  • [23]

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

  • [24]

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