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Who are the new migrants?

This page is for housing advisers. If you are a new arrival please click here to go to sections more relevant to you.

In 1951 there were 1.9 million non-UK born residents in England and Wales (4.5% of the usually resident population) and by 2011 this had increased to 7.5 million (13% of the resident population).  In 1951 the top ten non-UK countries of birth represented 60% (1.1 million) of the total foreign born population, compared to 45% (3.4 million) in 2011. This shows that the population has become more diverse, with the non-UK born population in 2011 less dominated by the top ten non-UK countries of birth. There are several major groups identified in this data that have continually been present in the top ten non-UK countries of birth, such as those born in Ireland, India and Poland.

New arrivals to England and Wales may be here:

  • to work
  • to join family members
  • to seek refuge
  • to study
  • to visit.

Many of them arrived many years ago, some were born to British parents abroad, and many more have become citizens since arriving. In the year to March 2015, some 105,000 people were granted settlement in the UK. The largest group were those granted settlement for employment reasons (40,000), followed by those who had come to join family members (32,000) and those who originally were asylum seekers (18,000).

There are rules about who can go on to council waiting lists or allocation schemes for housing, which exclude some new arrivals such as visitors, students and people on work permits. The same applies to local authority temporary housing for homeless people.

These rules do not apply to housing associations (also known as registered providers of social housing) when they offer housing themselves, nor do they apply to private landlords.

Find out on these pages about who can obtain a rented home through the local council and apply as homeless to local councils.

If local authorities or housing associations refuse housing because of their immigration status to people who have an entitlement, they may be discriminating against them. This is unlawful and can be challenged.

Find out here who is eligible for housing benefit.

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Background Topics

How can we improve housing for new migrants in the UK?

Chartered Institute of Housing