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Housing and Immigration restrictions

Your immigration status will affect what kind of support you can get from the council. If you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) then you may not be eligible for support with housing through the local council. Normally, limited leave to enter or remain (i.e. a visa with a time limit) means you will have NRPF. Immigration and residence restrictions can affect the help you get from the council if you are homeless or facing homelessness. 

The information on this page is not legal advice.  Please seek specialist immigration advice if you do not understand what your immigration status means. It’s best to try and do this before applying for housing at the council or before applying for benefits at the job centre. 

The following organisations may be able to help you identify your immigration status and rights:  

• Tower Hamlets law centre: 02075384909 

• Toynbee Hall: 02073922978 

You can find a registered immigration adviser or contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345  

More details are here on how immigration and residence conditions can affect the help you may get from the council if you are homeless or facing homelessness. 

 If you have recently arrived in the UK, this site has more information about your housing rights.

Refugees 

If you’ve been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection, there are not likely to be any immigration restrictions stopping you getting help to prevent or relieve homelessness. Use our Housing Options Finder tool to find the options that are right for you.

You may not get help if your leave to remain in the UK has ended. If you apply to extend your leave before it expires, you continue to qualify for help until the Home Office makes a decision. 

EEA citizens  

If you are an EEA citizen who has settled status or permanent residence, there are not likely to be any immigration restrictions stopping you getting help to prevent or relieve homelessness. Use our Housing Options Finder tool to find the options that are right for you.

 If you do not have settled status or indefinite leave to remain, your residency status may mean you have no recourse to public funds. The Government has published guidance which explains the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens to access social housing and homelessness assistance in England after January 1st 2021.   

You can apply to the EU Settled Status Scheme. For questions about how to apply, you may want to contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, either online or by calling 0300 123 7379.  

For more on no recourse to public funds, see the section below.   

Asylum seekers 

You won't qualify for homeless help from the council if you're seeking asylum. 

You can apply for asylum support instead if you have nowhere to live while the Home Office looks at your asylum claim. If you're under 18 and on your own, Social  Services may provide you with somewhere to live until you turn 18 or get a final decision on your asylum claim. 

Spouse or partner visas 

You won't usually qualify for public funds help if you're in the UK on a spouse or partner visa. Your partner is expected to provide you with a home for your first 5 years in the UK. 

If you need to leave your home because of domestic violence you can ask the Home Office for permission to claim benefits and get homeless help for a 3-month period. 

The application form is on www.gov.uk but you should get immigration advice before you complete it. 

Rights of Women can provide free legal advice. 

What if I have no recourse to public funds? 

You can't get help with housing or benefits in the UK if your immigration status means you have 'no recourse to public funds'.   

If you are working or have a source of income, you may be able find  accommodation in the private rented sector.  Look at our advice and tips.  

You can seek advice from Shelter if you have no recourse to public funds and are homeless or will be homeless soon. Contact a Shelter adviser online or contact their helpline on 0808 302 6115. Shelter’s expert advisers can check if you qualify for emergency housing from the Council, look for hostels or night shelters for you and tell you about local services that could provide practical help.  

Getting  help from the council 

If you are homeless or at risk of losing your home within 56 days, your immigration and residence status  will affect what assistance can be offered. Check the immigration and residence conditions.  

If the council can't help you, you'll need to find your own accommodation if the council can't help you with housing.