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.

Use our homeless rights checker to find out if someone is likely to be eligible for assistance based on their immigration or residence status.

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 or leave outside the rules

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 (NRFP) condition. [5]

They are referred to as Class B in the regulations.

A NRFP condition means that they have to maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependants without recourse to public funds.

The term 'leave outside the rules' has replaced the term exceptional leave. Discretionary leave is a form of exceptional leave. Victims of trafficking can be granted discretionary leave.

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.

Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine before 30 March 2022

A person with leave under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine scheme before 30 March is eligible for assistance.

Leave granted under either of the schemes before 30 March 2022 is leave outside the Immigration Rules and comes under Class B in the regulations.

From 30 March 2022, leave under these schemes is leave within the Immigration Rules and is referred to as Class N and Class O in the regulations.

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 who left Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion

People who left Ukraine because of the Russian invasion that began on 24 February 2022 are eligible for assistance if they:[20]

  • were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1st January 2022

  • have been given leave in accordance with the Immigration Rules

  • are not subject to a no recourse to public funds condition

They are referred to as Class N in the regulations.

Those who applied from within the UK and have been granted limited leave to remain under Appendix Ukraine Scheme of the Immigration Rules are eligible as Class O in the regulation. [21]

These groups of people are also eligible for an allocation of social housing and referred as Class M and Class N for that purpose. [22]

They do not have to be habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.[23]

From 30 March 2022, the Immigration Rules Appendix Ukraine Scheme sets out three routes to the UK for those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Leave granted under the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme and the Ukraine Extension Scheme is leave within the Immigration Rules.[24]

Leave granted under the schemes before 30 March 2022 is leave outside the rules, which the regulations refer to as exceptional leave to remain. A person granted leave under the schemes before 30 March 2022 is eligible for assistance under Class B of the regulations.

Housing advisers cannot provide immigration advice unless they are authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). People should seek specialist immigration advice for guidance on which scheme to apply for.

Gov.uk has guidance on UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals.

Ukraine Family Scheme

The Ukraine Family Scheme was launched on 4 March 2022 as part of a bespoke humanitarian route to the UK for people fleeing Ukraine. Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members can apply to join a family member living in the UK, who can be:

  • a British national

  • someone settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence

  • someone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who has pre-settled status and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021

  • someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

Applicants can be granted leave to enter the UK for up to three years with rights to work, study and access public funds.

Guidance states that leave granted under the scheme is leave outside the rules. A person with leave granted outside the rules who has recourse to public funds is eligible for homelessness assistance.

The Ukraine Advice Project is a free service that connects people fleeing the war in Ukraine with free immigration advice from qualified and regulated lawyers.

Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme

The Homes for Ukraine scheme allows sponsors living in the UK to provide a home for Ukrainian individuals or families. The scheme launched on 18 March 2022 and is open to Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members.

The accommodation can be a spare room or self contained accommodation. It must be available for at least 6 months, fit for people to live in, and suitable for the number of people.

Government guidance states that people granted a visa under the scheme can access benefits and public services.

The guidance states that sponsors should not charge rent. They will be offered a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months.

Ukraine Extension Scheme

The Ukraine Extension Scheme launched on 3 May 2022 and is open to Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members. Applicants can be granted leave for up to three years with rights to work, study and access public funds.

The applicant must have had permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022, unless they were in the UK with permission to enter or stay immediately before 1 January 2022 and their permission has since expired.

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. [25]

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.[26]

A frontier worker is an EEA national who is working or self-employed in the UK, but is not primarily resident in the UK.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

Last updated: 10 June 2022

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]

    reg 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]

    reg 5(1)(n) and 5(1)(o) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006/1294, as amended by reg 2(4) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2022/339 and by Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons Subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022/601.

  • [21]

    Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons Subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022/601, as amended by Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons Subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2022/626. See also paras 7.14 and 7.18 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018

  • [22]

    reg. 3 Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006/1294

  • [23]

    reg 6(2)(m) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006/1294 as inserted by reg 2(5) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2022/339.

  • [24]

    Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1220, 29 March 2022.

  • [25]

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

  • [26]

    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.

  • [27]

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

  • [28]

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

  • [29]

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