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Last updated: 02 February 2024

For the latest updates and guidelines on supporting refugees and people seeking asylum, please also check our news pages.

This guidance is for frontline homelessness services working with new refugees and with people seeking asylum. It was last updated in September 2021.

In brief

Refugees have the same entitlements as UK nationals, but the process of moving from asylum seeker to refugee can be problematic. It involves transferring from Home Office provided support to mainstream housing and benefits and the risk of homelessness and destitution is high. This guidance offers practical advice for homelessness agencies on how to support refugees to access mainstream housing and benefits. It also covers the steps a service can take to support people before a decision is received to help prevent homelessness. 

Please note that The Nationality and Borders Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons in July 2021 which could lead to a two-tier asylum system with different rights and entitlements for people seeking asylum depending on how they arrived in the UK.  The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has published a Briefing on the Bill.