This chapter sets out what must be considered when an asylum seeker or refused asylum seeker requests care and support from social services and when a local authority will be able to refer such a person to the Home Office for asylum support.

11.1 Local authority assessments

When an asylum seeker presents with an appearance of need, they must be assessed in the usual way under the Care Act 2014 and provided with care and support if they have eligible needs. Whilst an asylum seeker is waiting for their decision from the Home Office or final determination following any appeals against a refusal they are not subject to any exclusion from social services’ support, so eligibility for care and support will be established solely on the outcome of the needs assessment.

When a refused asylum seeker(who has received the final determination of their asylum claim) presents with an appearance of need, they must be assessed in the usual way under the Care Act, but the provision of care and support may be subject to a human rights assessment depending on their immigration status and whether they are in a group excluded by Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002:

  • Port of entry refused asylum seekers are not excluded (unless they have been refused and have failed to comply with removal directions), so the provision of care and support will be established solely on the outcome of the needs assessment; a human rights assessment is not required.
  • In-country refused asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers who have failed to comply with removal directions (whether port or in-country claimants) are in an excluded group, so the local authority can only provide care and support if this is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights, and will determine this by carrying out a human rights assessment as well as a needs assessment.

11.2 Referring to the Home Office for accommodation

Local authorities can only refer an asylum seeker or refused asylum seeker to the Home Office for accommodation without undertaking a needs assessment when the person has presented without an appearance of need.

An asylum seeker or refused asylum seeker who has presented with an appearance of need, and therefore requires a Care Act needs assessment, can only be referred to the Home Office for support when the relevant assessments have been completed and the local authority has determined that there is no duty to provide assistance. If interim care and support, including housing, has been provided under section 19(3) pending the outcome of the assessment, then it would be good practice for the local authority to assist the person to apply for asylum support and can use NRPF Connect to communicate with the Home Office to ensure the application is processed as quickly as possible.

When an asylum seeker or refused asylum seeker is already accommodated by the Home Office at the time of presentation to the local authority, then the suitability of this accommodation, in terms of the person’s well-being and enabling the person’s care and support needs to be met, will need to be considered if the person has eligible needs.

11.2.1 Section 95 Home Office support

A person with a pending asylum or Article 3 human rights application (or appeal) may apply for support from the Home Office under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 when they are destitute (have no accommodation and/or cannot afford to meet their essential living needs).

They can also apply for emergency support from the Home Office under section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and may receive this support whilst the Home Office make a final decision on their application for section 95 asylum support.

For single people, housing is usually provided in shared accommodation and financial support (subsistence) will be provided through a card which can be used in shops and to withdraw cash. A person who has accommodation may request subsistence support only.

Support will continue to be provided until the asylum claim is finally determined following any appeals the person has lodged. When the person is granted leave to remain or becomes ‘appeal rights exhausted’ following an unsuccessful claim, they will be issued with 21 days’ notice to leave their accommodation.

11.2.2 Section 4 Home Office support

In certain circumstances, destitute refused asylum seekers may be provided with support from the Home Office under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. They need to show that they:

  • are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK;
  • are unable to leave the UK due to physical impediment;have no safe route of return;
  • have been granted leave to appeal in an application for judicial review in relation to their asylum claim; or
  • require support to avoid a breach of their human rights, for example they have made further submissions for a fresh asylum claim.

The support provided comprises of accommodation and subsistence, which is intended to cover the costs of food, clothing and toiletries, through a card which can be used in shops but not to withdraw cash. Subsistence support cannot be provided independently of accommodation.

The following organisations provide information and asylum support: