Information for asylum seekers

The provision of council assistance to asylum seekers is a complex issue and depends on when the applicant applied for asylum, and the basis of any rights they have to remain within the country pending the outcome of an asylum application.

In general terms, but with some specific exceptions, asylum seekers do not qualify for assistance unless their circumstances are such that they meet some specialised criteria. The main reason housing assistance would be provided is when the asylum claim was made before the 4th February 1996, and the applicant was receiving assistance under the housing benefit regulations prior to that date. For more information, see the relevant section in the Scottish Government Code of Guidance on Homelessness.

There may be limited circumstances where assistance could be given under social work legislation, to deal with immediate needs.

Support and assistance to asylum seekers is mainly provided by the UK Border Agency, which is part of the Home Office. It can arrange accommodation and support in addition to the asylum application process.

In Scotland the main contacts for asylum issues are:

Scottish Refugee Council
5 Cadogan Square (170 Blythswood Court), Glasgow G2 7PH

Telephone: 0141 248 9799

Fax: 0141 243 2499

They also offer services in Edinburgh from:

Citizen's Advice Bureau
58 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6QZ.

Telephone: 0800 085 6087