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What's new? - recent updates to the site

This page summarises updates to the site and new publications relevant to migrants' housing rights. Go to the Brexit page for news on the rights of EU and EEA nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

Refugee children granted ‘Calais leave’

This is a new form of permission to remain in the UK for children resettled from the Calais refugee camp in 2016-17 who would not otherwise qualify for asylum. Changes have been made to the pages on refugees and the consolidated regulations (pdf) relating to allocations and homelessness available on the website is updated from November.

'Universal credit' is replacing housing benefit and some other benefits

Universal credit (UC) now replaces housing benefit for more and more applicants across England, Wales and Scotland. As a general rule:

  • you cannot get UC in a 'live service area' if you are a person from abroad (including those subject to immigration control) and therefore if you are making a new claim you must claim 'legacy benefits' (i.e. housing benefit) instead
  • in live service areas for UC, the same rules about eligibility for housing benefit also apply to your UC claim in its entirety, regardless of whether you claim the housing costs element. The only obvious difference is that there is no exception for those on a 'passport' benefit because there are none.

All of the relevant pages on the website have now been updated to reflect the changes as UC becomes more widely used.

Changes to help the 'Windrush generation'

Changes have been made by both the Home Office and DWP to help migrants who have been in the UK for many years to prove their status and their 'right to rent,' and to claim housing benefit.

On the right to rent, landlords are now told that:

“If a prospective tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, they have the right to be here and to rent property.

“If a prospective tenant came to the UK after 1 January 1973 then they might not have the automatic right to be here, but they may be allowed to stay here permanently and will have the right to rent property.”

They are then referred to the Home Office checking service and the applicants are asked to get in touch with the Home Office’s dedicated unit. This should help people to resolve their cases although they may still experience problems if landlords are unwilling to do the further checks because they want to let the tenancy quickly.

On housing benefit, the DWP advises that:

“Should LAs identify… HB cases where the claimant is unable to evidence their immigration status to allow access to HB, but indicates they are from the ‘Windrush generation’, LAs are urged to apply extreme caution and refer the claimant, or their representative, to the Home Office dedicated taskforce team… to allow them to undertake necessary action.”

Local authorities should avoid delaying payments while awaiting Home Office guidance - they are the decision-makers (not the Home Office) and they have a duty to make a decision. They should also be willing to make a payment on account where the person has provided the evidence reasonably required.

Pages on private renting, destitution and other topics cover the changes in more detail.

Changes to Immigration Rules

Changes to the rules took effect on July 6th. Many of the changes are welcome. For example:

  • Afghans who came on the schemes to protect those at risk after British withdrawal (because they had worked for the British forces) now have proper arrangements for them and their family members to apply for indefinite leave to remain, free of charge
  • A new form of leave is created for “Dubs children” (unaccompanied refugee children who have been brought from mainland Europe) who do not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection: they get five years’ leave with the right to study and work and no conditions as to recourse to public funds.  After that they can apply for indefinite leave.  Any dependants (e.g. younger siblings) will get leave in line.
  • There are new rules for people who had indefinite leave to remain and left the UK.  If they have been out of the UK for less than two years they can simply return and resume their residence.  If away for longer they will have to apply for leave to enter or remain but it will be granted if they can show that they have strong ties to the UK and intend to make the UK their permanent home.  This will benefit “Windrush” migrants who may have become stranded outside the UK, among others.
  • There is a range of rule changes affecting students, people coming on Tier 1 visas, people applying for indefinite leave to remain who have spent some time out of the UK, etc., most of which have been described as positive by immigration lawyers.

As a result of one of these changes, the eligibility regulations for housing in England and Scotland have also been amended.  They now include a new class of eligible persons (G for allocation and H for homelessness) who are these “Dubs children” covered by the amended Immigration Rules.  They do need to be habitually resident.  This is unlikely to present a problem since, as unaccompanied children, on arrival they will be looked after by Social Services or relatives who may be able to do so.  The amended eligibility regulations, however, will ensure that they are eligible for housing and homelessness assistance should they need it later.   On the website you will find that links to the English and Scottish regulations now take you to new, consolidated versions. Regulations for Wales have yet to be updated by the Welsh Government.

New advice line for BME women and girls

ARHAG, the main sponsor of the housing rights website, has opened a free national benefits and housing advice line. It is available to all BME women or girls in the UK who require help or advice with a housing or benefit issue, such as universal credit, maximising benefits, support dealing with overpayments, and maximising benefits through grants and other options.

The advice line is open on Tuesdays between 10am and 3pm and can be reached at 0800 3890 405.


Recent publications

Below are recent publications for housing advisers which will be added to the site on the pages on 'What other organisations can help' or 'Other information for advisers', according to whether they are relevant to England or Scotland, or both.

Challenging discrimination in private renting

A new guide produced for the Welsh Government but which applies more widely aims to reduce mistreatment and discrimination suffered by private tenants.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre – free legal information on topics relating to migrant and refugee children

Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s new website features a whole selection of new fact sheets and resources on subjects that relate to migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people. The fact sheets cover such topics as asylum, immigration, EU law, nationality, access to local authority support, education and healthcare, and more. Each legal fact sheet also comes with an introduction to the topic for non-legal professionals.

Homelessness among refugees

A briefing from the House of Commons library on the problems which refugees face.

DWP benefits guidance for refugees

This guide explains benefit availability for refugees with different kinds of leave to remain.

Right to Remain Toolkit

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system with excellent, plain English explanations of how immigration law works, mainly aimed at people who want to establish or fight for their right to remain in the UK

Resettling refugees - Support after the first year

A guide from the LGA for local authorities, prepared by Migration Yorkshire.

Helping refugees making homelessness applications

The Refugee Council has prepared a guide to help anyone supporting refugees make homelessness applications to local authorities.

A hosting toolkit

Homeless Link, NACCOM and Housing Justice have produced a toolkit for those organising hosting schemes for destitute migrants.

Consolidated English and Welsh housing regulations

Unique to the website, the page on the law on housing eligibility contains links to consolidated versions of the English and Welsh regulations on eligibility for housing assistance according to immigration status.

Web-based tool to help destitute migrants

NRPF have launched a tool for local authorities and advisers, to help find out entitlements for different types of destitute migrant.


We welcome suggestions for updating the guidance on the Housing Rights website and for including links to relevant new sources of guidance or information.

Please email policyandpractice@cih.org with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

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