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'Zambrano' carers

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

A 'Zambrano' carer is a person from a non-EEA state whose residence is required in order to enable a child or dependant adult, who is British, to live in the UK (or the rest of the EEA).

If the child is a UK citizen, a parent or parents with sole care of the child also have a right to reside and work in the UK. This is known as a Zambrano right after the case that established it and it is now included in the EEA regulations (Regulation 15A(4A)): see the Home Office guidance on how these are applied.

A Zambrano right is granted to a non-EEA parent of a child who is a British citizen if it is the only way to guarantee the right of the child to live in the UK (or the rest of the EEA). But it is not issued where another carer may be available for the child (e.g. the other parent). Domestic violence may, of course, affect the likelihood of this, and parents in this situation should get expert legal advice.

A Zambrano carer has the right to live and work in the UK but is not entitled to housing or housing benefit (but see below for applications to social services or applications made before 31 October 2014). In some cases it may be possible to apply for leave to remain on the basis of family or private life, and also to ask for such leave to allow recourse to public funds. It is important to get expert legal advice about which of these options is suitable for each case as this is a developing area of law.

Although a Zambrano carer is not entitled to housing and benefits are entitled to free advice and information if homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. They can also apply to social services if they cannot accommodate or support themselves and this may include housing at a nil or very low rent: R (Yekini) v LB Southwark (2014). Applicants in this situation are often asked to prove that they are destitute: in fact, since they have a right to reside, the law does not require this and they need only ask for help, under the Children Act or the Care Act if caring for a vulnerable adult. It is helpful, when approaching social services, to have good quality proof of the fact that no-one else is available to care for the British citizen child or dependant adult, since that is the essential condition for this right to reside.

Because a Zambrano carer has the right to live in the UK they also have the 'right to rent' from a private landlord. Although in England they will be subject to 'right to rent' checks, their Zambrano residence card should be sufficient proof that they have a right to reside in the EEA (and are effectively treated as an EEA family member even though they are non-EEA nationals).

Applications and claims made before 31 October 2014

A Zambrano carer who:

  • claimed housing benefit before 8 November 2012 is entitled to HB for any period before that date (but not after)
  • applied for housing or homelessness assistance in England before 8 November 2012 continues to have a valid application
  • applied for housing or homelessness assistance in Wales before 31 October 2014 continues to have a valid application

provided that in each case they can show that they were habitually resident when their claim/application was made.

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Background Topics

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

Chartered Institute of Housing