Skip to main content

Former asylum seekers and homelessness

If you are granted leave to remain in the UK, your support from the UK Border Agency will stop. Once you have been told to leave your accommodation you should start looking for somewhere else to live straight away. One option is to make a homeless application to the council.

Why should the council help me?

One of the council's jobs is to find homes for the people in its area who don't have anywhere to live. However, it will only have a duty to find you a home if you meet certain conditions relating to your circumstances and how you became homeless.

The council will have to provide you with somewhere to live on a temporary basis until it decides whether it has a duty to provide you with long term accommodation. This is known as temporary accommodation.

Find out more about contacting the council and making a homeless application.

Will the council find me a permanent home?

Whether or not the council will find you a permanent home will depend upon your circumstances. When it is deciding whether or not to offer you long term accommodation, the council will look at two aspects of your situation:

  • whether you have become homeless intentionally, and
  • whether you have a local connection with the council area.

Am I intentionally homeless?

Before it can offer you a permanent home, the council also has to establish that you didn't make yourself homeless intentionally, that it wasn't your fault that you became homeless. If you are still housed in accommodation or have left because you were told that you had to, it is unlikely that you will be classed as intentionally homeless.

If the council offers you somewhere to live long term then you should not turn down that offer down until you have spoken to a specialist housing adviser (see 'where can I get help and advice' below). Sometimes turning down an offer of accommodation can lead the council to believe that you have made yourself homeless on purpose. If this happens then the council will not have a duty to offer you somewhere else to live.

You can find out more in the section on intentionality.

Do I have a local connection?

Before the council will offer you long term accommodation it will usually try to establish whether you have any links with the local area.

Usually the council will only offer accommodation to those people who can show they have links such as having a family or job in the area. However, if you only live in your current area because you were offered accommodation there by the UK Border Agency then you can make an application for homelessness assistance with any council in Scotland and you don't have to show that you are linked to that area in any way. This means that even if your accommodation was, for example, in Glasgow, you can make an application for housing with Edinburgh City Council. This is because the UK Border Agency did not give you a choice when you were offered accommodation.

Can I move anywhere?

Councils in England and Wales, however, don't see things in the same way. They will class you as having a local connection with the area in which your asylum support accommodation is located and will refuse to offer you long term accommodation in any other area. This will make it quite difficult for you to move from Scotland to England or Wales, although you can make applications with English or Welsh housing associations or try to secure private rented accommodation.

Get more advice from the Shelter England advice pages.

Where can I get help and advice?

If you have any problems dealing with the council, an adviser at a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice will be able to help you with your application. For example, they should be able to help you if:

  • the council won't let you make an application
  • the council doesn't provide you with temporary accommodation while it's looking into your situation
  • the council says that you made yourself homeless intentionally
  • the council says that you have no local connection with the area.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • If you are granted leave to remain in the UK your support and accommodation from the UK Border Agency will stop.
  • One of your options is to complete a homelessness application with a council to see if they can provide you with help and housing.
  • How you became homeless and if you have a local connection with the council area, for example family or a job will affect if the council will offer you housing.
  • If you've been staying in accommodation provided through the UK Border Agency you aren't limited to putting in a homelessness application in that area, you could apply in any area.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us