Access to asylum support
The government website provides an overview and details of support available to asylum seekers in the UK, and Asylum helplines assist with information related to the asylum process and adapting to life in the UK.
More information on financial support — Immigration Act 1999
Asylum seekers are not entitled to claim public funds. However, asylum seekers who have launched their asylum claim may be able to get help with housing and financial support from the Home Office, section 95. An asylum seeker may therefore get housing and financial support until their asylum claim is finally determined by the Home Office or appeal courts.
Support for refused asylum seekers
A refused asylum seeker may get housing and financial support if they can show that there is a temporary barrier preventing them from leaving the UK. This support is usually provided to single people and it is often referred to as 'section 4 support' because it is provided under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Financial support is provided in the form of vouchers and cannot be applied for separately if the refused asylum seeker has alternative accommodation.
Support for asylum seekers and refused families
Families will continue to receive financial and housing support even though their claim has been unsuccessful, if there was a child under 18 in the household when the final decision was made. This support is often referred to as 'section 95 support' because it is provided under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Financial support to the family is provided via card or voucher payments and may be applied for separately if the asylum seeker has alternative accommodation.
Access to housing
Asylum seekers are given somewhere to live; this could be in a flat, house, hostel or bed and breakfast. He/she cannot choose where to live. Accommodation providers are obliged to ensure that 'internal and external aspects of the accommodation are clean prior to an asylum seeker taking up occupancy'. In addition, they are required to provide a welcome pack with essential information and contact details of the housing officers.
Support for refugee children
As stated earlier in the mental health section, asylum seeker
s and refugee s' children are very vulnerable for a number of reasons such as witnessing parents or siblings being tortured or killed, being separated from one or both parents, and loss of siblings. These events have an impact on the development and psychological well-being of the children. In addition, these can diminish the children’s ability to learn or integrate in the school community. Local Education Authorities are encouraged to develop local policies and procedures to provide for the education of asylum-seeker and refugee children. Please contact your Local Education Authority for further details.
Support for gay and lesbian asylum seekers and refugees
Gay and lesbian asylum seekers and refugees often face very intrusive sexual questions. It is therefore very important that health care professionals facilitate the access, and give the most appropriate support and advice. A number of UK-based charities and organisations offer support and advice to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers and refugees.
Refugee Action in Liverpool
Refugee Action in Liverpool provide support and advice for asylum seekers and refugees.
CDS Housing Association (for Floating Support)
CDS Housing Association (for Floating Support)
Telephone: 0800 169 2988
CDS deliver a floating support service to people granted asylum who are living in Liverpool. The service can help up to 40 households to set up and maintain their tenancies as well as helping them to integrate into the local community. Contact through telephone service, drop-in service.
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am – 5pm; Tuesday 12 noon – 5pm
Healthy Homes Advocates
Telephone: 0800 0121 754
Healthy homes Advocates visit properties in the areas with the greatest health and housing support needs and gather information about the occupants and their health needs, as well as the condition of their homes. They can then provide free help and advice to residents to remove or prevent hazards in order to improve their health and well-being. Advice is given on health proofing your home, home safety, how to access services provided by various support agencies, healthy eating, fuel poverty and maximising income.
Telephone: 0151 227 9622
Shelter is the Housing and Homelessness Charity. They currently operate an advice service that is open to advise staff who encounter clients with housing or homelessness issues. They also have caseworkers who can give direct advice to clients regarding their rights and can support them to exercise those rights. They are also currently developing new services.
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Children must attend school if they are aged 5 to17. All state schools are free and your children may be able to get free school meals.
Schools for children
Schools for children - information factsheet for refugee parents
National Museums Liverpool
Telephone: 0151 478 4048
The Engaging Refugees and Asylum Seekers project at National Museums Liverpool aims to develop a range of events, social activities and learning opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers throughout its eight museums and galleries. They cater for all ages and abilities. They work with ESOL groups to deliver learning activities and also have volunteer opportunities available.
Contact Ann-Marie Cassidy (Project Worker — Engaging Refugees and Asylum Seekers) by email or telephone. (Monday – Friday)
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm
Blackburne House Group
Telephone: 0151 709 4356
They provide training and educational courses for women in IT, personal and professional development, health, construction and management; as well as qualifications in teaching and those from the Chartered Institute of Housing. They also run courses for young women aged 16–18. Contact through telephone service, drop-in service, appointment system.
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 9am – 9pm; Friday 9am – 6pm
Telephone: 0871 330 7033
UK NARIC is the designated National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on qualifications worldwide. Working on behalf of the UK Government they provide a range of advisory services that compare international qualifications. Specifically, they can help:
- Those coming to the UK to work or study that hold international qualifications
- Potential migrants wishing to apply through the Points Based System
- Universities and colleges wishing to admit international students
- Employers wishing to identify the brightest and best employees from outside the UK.
Contact through telephone service, telephone advice line, drop-in service, appointment system.
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (UK time)
Telephone: 0161 789 7373
Reache helps health professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists and others) to return to work in their profession or look for an alternative career. They can provide:
- Advice and support with registration in the UK
- English classes and practice
- Professional examinations
- C.V., job applications and interview skills
- Getting to know the UK health care system
- Career guidance
- Use of computers (internet access) and textbooks
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5pm
When can housing and financial support be provided by local authorities to refused families?
There are provisions that require local authorities to provide some people with NRPF with housing and/or financial support in order to prevent homelessness or destitution. Such assistance can be provided to:
- Families, where there is a child in need (for example, because the child is homeless or the parent cannot afford to meet the family's basic living needs)
- Young people who were formerly looked after by a local authority, for example, because they were an unaccompanied asylum seeking child (UASC), or other separated migrant child
- Adults requiring care and support due to a disability, illness or mental health condition.
The legislation which sets out these responsibilities differs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To establish eligibility for assistance, the local authority will undertake the following assessments:
- Families - a child in need assessment
- Adults with care needs - a needs assessment
It is important to state that people requesting help from social services should provide as much evidence as possible to confirm their circumstances, for example, an eviction notice or letter from the person who has been accommodating them explaining why they are no longer able to assist. It is critical that the person provides all the information they are asked for- and, if they cannot do so, they must explain why this is not possible. Social services cannot legally refuse to provide support without making sufficient enquiries to be able to reach such a decision. However, if a person or family is in urgent need, then emergency assistance can be provided whilst this information is being gathered and assessments are being undertaken.
Note: To find out where migrant families can get help with housing and financial support when they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) use this web tool.
Organisations that provide support
British Red Cross
British Red Cross Refugee Support and Restoring Family Links Team in Merseyside
The British Red Cross helps vulnerable people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We help asylum seekers and refugees access essential services and adjust to life in a new country:
- Our Welcome Centres are run across Merseyside for asylum seekers and refugees by British Red Cross and our partners. We offer hot meals and drinks, an opportunity to socialise and information about local activities and the local area. We also offer casework support and signpost to other services.
- Our Casework Service offers short-term, one-to-one advice and support in adjusting to a new environment. This may include help with accessing housing, health, education, welfare and legal services. We also provide details of other services and agencies assisting refugees and asylum seekers. Contact the team for info and to make a referral.
- The Red Cross plays a specific role in the reunion of families who have been separated around the world, and who have been allowed by the Home Office to join their families in the UK. The British Red Cross have a Family Reunion Travel Assistance scheme that pays for and arranges travel to reunite refugee families. The service is for people who already have Family Reunion visas for their families to enter the UK and are on a low income. The British Red Cross is not qualified to help with applications for Family Reunion visas. People looking for help with Family Reunion visa applications will need to see a lawyer or qualified immigration adviser. Once your family’s Family Reunion visas are in place, you can contact your local Red Cross office for an appointment to apply for travel assistance.
- We deliver a partnership project with Asylum Link Merseyside and Refugee Action to asylum seekers in the local area. We provide information sessions to newly arrived asylum seekers about the asylum process, complex casework to those at imminent risk of or currently destitute and have complex health or social care needs and deliver ESOL and wellbeing activities.
- We can provide one off limited emergency provisions to refugees and asylum seekers. Access to emergency provisions is via the Casework Service or by referral from a professional, such as a health visitor or partner organisation. Emergency provisions include: clothing vouchers to access second hand goods at any of the Red Cross charity shops, maternity packs provided to mothers-to-be during the month up to her due date, to provide basic supplies needed for their hospital stay and for the first week after giving birth, emergency food support including one-off assistance if you are destitute and not currently receiving support from any other agencies. We can also provide referrals to local food banks.
- The British Red Cross Anti-Trafficking Officer is the North West local lead for trafficking related cases and provides person-centred support to trafficked and potentially trafficked people. British Red Cross will be piloting a referral pathway and developing the capacity of colleagues at local level to identify and respond to human trafficking, provide outreach awareness raising activities to at risk communities and work with local stakeholders to ensure they understand human trafficking and the role of the British Red Cross. For more information contact Matthew Young on 0151 702 5088 / 07809374560 or MYoung@redcross.org.uk
Refugee Support team:
Tel: 0151 702 5067
Asylum Link Merseyside
Telephone: 0151 709 1713
Asylum Link is a drop-in centre for asylum seekers and refugees providing tea, coffee and a place to meet. They aim to give a warm welcome, friendship, help and advice to asylum seekers and refugees in the city. They encourage the participation of asylum seekers and refugees in the services they provide. The centre is run by a small number of paid staff and around 130 volunteers, and it relies heavily on donations of clothes, food and other items to keep them going. Phone for details. Casework hours vary from opening hours.
Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm
Merseyside Network for Change and Merseyside Refugee Support Network
Merseyside Network for Change and Merseyside Refugee Support Network
Telephone: 0151 709 7557
MRSN provides an information and support service for local refugee communities as well as for those organisations working with and for refugees and asylum seekers.
They also offer a wide range of direct support services to refugees to help progression with resettlement and integration. The service has developed and expanded over the past 9 years through its collaboration with MNFC to meet the ongoing demand for customised and effective support for vulnerable refugee clients. The ongoing delivery of these services (funding permitting) includes:
- Benefits and housing — advocacy and support
- Employment and training advice and guidance
- English classes — beginners and intermediate levels
- Interpreting classes — level 2 and 3.