If you are a Refugee or Asylum Seeker either newly arrived in Leicester or living here for some time there is plenty of help and support available. If you go to the directory there is information on where to access local accommodation, support, advice and medical help.
As an asylum applicant in the United Kingdom, you have the right to:
- be treated fairly and lawfully regardless of your race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or any disability
- practise your own religion, and you are expected to show respect for people of other faiths
- have your application considered fairly and accurately
- have access to support and accommodation if you meet the requirements for it
- have access to free health care from the National Health Service (NHS)
- have legal representation. Free legal help may be available, depending on your income and your case. Your caseworker can tell you more about this.
As an asylum applicant in the United Kingdom, it is your responsibility to:
- co-operate with the Home Office and tell them the truth. It is a crime to make an asylum application that involves trying to deceive them. If you do this and are found guilty of it in a court, you may be put in prison, after which you may be deported
- Report to the police or the reporting centre, if required by the Home Office.
- stay in regular contact with your caseworker, including keeping all your appointments
- obey the law
- care for your children (for example, an adult must always supervise children under the age of 16, and if they are aged between 5 and 16 they must have full-time education, usually at school)
- leave the United Kingdom if your application is refused for asylum and any appeal you make is unsuccessful - but until a decision has been made on your application, no action will be taken to remove you or your dependants from the United Kingdom.
Benefits you are entitled to
As an asylum seeker you do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom and so must rely on state support. Housing can be provided, but asylum seekers cannot choose where it is. Cash support is available, and is currently set at £36.62 per person, per week, which makes it £5.23 a day for food, sanitation and clothing
Asylum support groups
- you're an asylum seeker and you've just arrived in the UK
- you've just received the decision on your asylum application
- you've been successful in your asylum application and are building a new life in the UK
The local organisations can help and support you with:
- housing problems
- dealing with agencies, e.g. social services
- finding English language classes
- questions about asylum support
- getting legal representation
- finding schools
- building a life in the UK if you're given permission to stay here
- returning home
You can receive help from:
- Red Cross
- City of Sanctuary
- Welcome Project
- Refugee Action
- Race Equality Centre
- Open Hands
- After 18
- Assist GP Practice to access NHS
If you apply for housing or housing benefits you will be asked for:
- The Immigration Status Document you were given with your asylum decision or when you arrived in the UK. This proves your identity and your eligibility. If you do not have one you will need another letter from the Home Office confirming your eligibility, but will also need to prove your identity.
- If you are leaving asylum support accommodation, the NASS 35 or other form that shows where you have lived and when your support and accommodation ends.
- If you have applied to renew your leave, a copy of the documents you sent off and the receipt from the Home Office.
- What are your rights to housing and benefits?
- Even though you may have limited leave to remain in the UK, you have the right to apply for an allocation of housing from the council or from a housing association, to get and to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent. You should be offered a tenancy on the same terms as any other applicant, even if you are waiting to renew your leave or it is due to run out soon.
What about your family members?
If you have refugee status, your husband/wife/civil partner and children are covered by your refugee status as well, even if they have just arrived or have not yet sorted out their status, as long as you started your family before your left your home country. So they are all eligible for housing and homelessness services.
If you have another type of status your family members may have applied for asylum and arrived in the UK with you and would usually get leave on the same basis as you. If they arrive later, they must apply to stay through the asylum system, and will be asylum seekers until they get leave. This may cause problems with applications for homelessness help and benefits.
Are you someone with indefinite leave to remain?
People subject to immigration control may get indefinite leave to remain:
- after a period in the UK as a worker
- after a period as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or exceptional leave to remain
- after a period as the husband/wife/cohabitee/civil partner of a settled person or UK national
- on arrival if they have been sponsored with an undertaking by a relative to support and accommodate them
- outside the immigration rules (for example as part of the Case Resolution process for people stuck in the asylum system).
What documents might you be asked for?
You have to show that you have indefinite leave to remain when applying for benefits or housing. You will have an immigration status document, a stamp or certificate in your passport, or a letter from the Home Office.
What are your rights to housing and benefits?
You have the right to apply for an allocation of housing from the council, to get help if you are homeless and to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent, as long as two other conditions apply:
- You are habitually resident (people who have lived in the UK for two years will be automatically habitually resident).
- You must not have had an undertaking to support and accommodate you signed by a relative within the last five years, although if all the people who have signed it are dead this will not apply. An undertaking is sometimes required where a person resident in the UK wants to bring an elderly or other dependent relative to live with them in the UK.
You can also get accommodation from housing associations, even if you cannot meet the two conditions explained above, providing you are able to pay the rent.
If you have been granted refugee status you can apply to bring your family (i.e. partner/wife and children under 18) to the UK.