Asylum seekers

If you are an asylum seeker, a refugee or are appealing against an unsuccessful asylum claim, you may be entitled to housing and support.

For more detailed information, you will need to speak to a specialist adviser. You can find one, and/or an interpreter, by calling Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline on 0345 075 5005, or by contacting the Immigration Advice Service or Asylum Help. Asylum seekers and refugees in Wales should contact the Welsh Refugee Council for support and information.

If you are seeking asylum

If you haven’t yet applied for asylum in the UK, you should do so as soon as possible. Read more from Gov.uk about making an asylum claim.

Asylum support

If you are 18 years of age or older and seeking asylum in the UK you may be entitled to housing and/or money from the Government to help with your living costs. This is called asylum support and is provided by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI – part of the Home Office). Phone 0808 8000 631 to make an application.

Asylum Help, part of the charity Migrant Help, can help you with your application for asylum support. Contact Asylum Help on 0808 8000 630. Monday to Friday, 8am to 5.30pm (limited service at other times).

Social services

If you are under 18, and have arrived in the UK without an adult, you should be able to get emergency help from your local council’s social services department. They should provide you with accommodation, food, clothing and provide support with your asylum claim. Have a look at the Housing Rights Information website for more advice.

If your asylum claim has been decided

If your asylum claim was successful

You are a refugee and will have many of the same rights as British citizens.

Asylum support accommodation usually ends 28 days after the Home Office grants your refugee status, so it important that you find somewhere to live.

As a refugee you have the right to apply to the council for help if you become homeless and for council housing. Your rights depend on what status you have been given (ie refugee status, indefinite leave to remain, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain). If the council refuse to help you, ring the Shelter Cymru helpline for urgent advice.

For help to pay the rent, you need to apply for housing benefit or, in some areas, universal credit. You must apply for a National Insurance number before you can claim benefits.

Some charities run schemes to help homeless people find a private tenancy or a room in a shared house. Search for a project in your area using the Help to Rent database run by Crisis.

If you decide to rent from a private landlord, they will usually ask for a deposit and rent in advance before they will offer you a tenancy. Ask the council if they can help with this.

You might get help through a:

You may also get help with food, clothing and heating from the Discretionary Assistance Fund.

If your asylum claim was refused

You are a refused asylum seeker  – your asylum support will end and you have very limited options. Seek specialist advice as soon as possible. The Housing Rights website has some useful advice if you are in this situation.

Depending on where you are in Wales, you might be able to get help from a member of NACCOM (The No Accommodation Network).

The No Recourse to Public Funds Network has an online tool to help you work out if there is any help available to you. Click here to start the tool (you might need an adviser to help you do this).

Where to seek help

Call our helpline or visit advice near you to find a local advice surgery. We can help you find a specialist adviser or solicitor if you need one.

Citizens Advice has advice centres around the country, and can help with lots of different problems, including benefits, and debt. Their services are free.

If you need advice relating to your asylum claim, you could contact:

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

This page was last updated on: September 26, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.