Refugees guide to rehousing

I have been given permission to stay

If you have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave you have broadly the same rights and entitlements to services as other UK residents and citizens.

Everyone can get free advice and the council may be able to provide temporary and longer term housing.

  • You can apply to go on the housing register (which is a waiting list for housing) or
  • You can look for private rented accommodation.

Some people can also get emergency help from the council. For more advice about what options are available to you contact Support for Wigan Arrivals Project (SWAP) (external link) on 01942 614486 .

How do I apply to Wigan Council as homeless?

When you have been given a decision by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) your housing provider will give you a notice to leave your accommodation.

As soon as you receive this letter you MUST contact SWAP (external link) on 01942 614486, to assess your circumstances.

You may be asked to provide:

  • NASS 35 form - A form which UKBA issues to people granted a positive decision. It confirms that a person is no longer an asylum seeker and so will lose their accommodation if UKBA are providing it
  • Immigration Status Document - A letter granting status
  • A document confirming your identity with your photograph - This can be the Immigration Status Document that you should get when you get your new status
  • Documents confirming the identity of any other people in the family and their relationship to you
  • A letter confirming when you have to leave your accommodation (the landlord will give you this if you ask)
  • Letters and other papers about health problems anyone in the household has that are relevant.

What will the council do if I apply as homeless?

If you are homeless, you may be offered temporary accommodation if you are:

  • Eligible - because of your immigration status. People with refugee status, humanitarian protection and discretionary leave are eligible, but asylum seekers are not (they get help from the UKBA instead). If you are not sure about who in your family is eligible you should get advice. Please contact SWAP (external link) on 01942 614486.
  • In priority need - because you have a child or a pregnant woman as part of your household, if you are under 18, or you are vulnerable because of age (over 60 or young), illness, disability or other special reason. People made homeless because of fire, flood or other disaster are also in priority need.

The law on vulnerability is complicated so you should get advice if you think you may be vulnerable but are not sure.

If you qualify for homelessness assistance, the council may decide to make further enquiries but it will make sure you have somewhere to live while it investigates your situation. It does not have to provide accommodation from its own properties, it can refer you to a housing association or arrange accommodation with a private landlord.

For advice contact SWAP on 01942 614486.

Which council can I apply to?

You can apply to any council in the country, and they should give you temporary accommodation if you are eligible and in priority need, but they will refer you to another area if you have no local connection with them.

You have a local connection with an area if you:

  • Work there
  • Have lived there for at least six months in the last year or three years out of the last five (but not in UKBA accommodation)
  • Have a close family member who has lived there for five years
  • Were accommodated by the UKBA there when you got your status decision.

The rules on local connection are complicated and you should get advice if you are thinking of applying as homeless in a new area.

For advice contact SWAP (external link) on 01942 614486.

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