Accessibility Statement
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Asylum and Immigration


The roles of national and local government

National government determines immigration status and whether or not an asylum seeker is accepted.  This is under the control of the Home Office and the UK Visas and Immigration department who decide who can legally reside in the UK.

The Home Office is responsible for managing the dispersal, accommodation and support needs of asylum seekers while a decision on the asylum claim is made. The Home Office operate a number of regional contracts to facilitate this. In the North West this contract is held by SERCO.

 The Local Authority is not responsible for placing or accommodating asylum seekers. Our role is in liaison with these private contractors to try and ensure that they can respond to local circumstances and to then manage the move-on arrangements when people are granted refugee status

Asylum Seeker (person seeking asylum)

A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded.  Wherever possible, we prefer to describe someone as a person seeking asylum


The definition of a refugee according to The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is:

“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

Support for people seeking asylum

If you have claimed asylum and are awaiting a decision you can apply for financial support and housing from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) which is part of the Home Office, a department of UK Government.  UKVI are responsible for making a decision on your asylum claim and providing you with accommodation and financial support while you are waiting.
Migrant Help is a national service, funded by UKVI, providing free, independent advice and guidance to asylum seekers to help make claims for support and give general advice about the asylum process. You will need to contact them to make a claim for asylum support in the first instance, please visit Migrant Help or call 0808 8010 503. Calls are free, open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week all year round. This service is accessible to all asylum seekers in the UK.
If you have no other means of support you will be provided with accommodation on a ‘no choice’ basis by one of UKVI’s contracted accommodation providers; in Tameside the housing provider is SERCO. They are responsible for your accommodation. Please contact Migrant Help to report any problems with your asylum accommodation, and they will liaise with the accommodation provider on your behalf to address these.

Support after a decision on your asylum claim

If you have had a positive decision on your asylum claim and have received refugee leave or some other form of leave to remain, then you will be required to leave your asylum accommodation. You should receive 28 days’ notice in writing of the date that you must leave.

Upon receiving notification of your status, it is important that you begin to take steps to ensure that you have the necessary support in place prior to the end of the 28-day grace period. You may require support with the following;
  • Opening a bank account
  • Access to alternative accommodation and Housing Advice
  • Applying for the benefits you may be entitled to
  • Finding out about local community groups
  • Advice and support with education, training and employment opportunities
On notification of your positive decision from the Home Office, you should also receive contact from Tameside Housing Advice, offering you support with the move on process. This service is optional.

If you require assistance with the steps required to move on from your accommodation, you can also visit the British Red Cross Drop In- Please visit The British Red Cross

As you will only have a 28 day ‘move on’ period, it is important to contact this service as soon as receive your Home Officer decision letter.

Your circumstances will be assessed and depending on what decision is made, they may either have a duty to provide you with housing, OR a duty to give you advice to help you to find your own housing. Tameside Housing Advice can advise you on temporary and or shared accommodation if you have nowhere to live after you leave your current housing. You will receive all housing options available to you. Alternate accommodation is not guaranteed for all.

In order to receive your housing options, please complete the self-referral form. Once this has been completed an experienced officer will assess the information provided and contact you with further advice where required or arrange an appointment. Please note that only those with pre-arranged appointments will be granted access to the Housing Advice Office.  This is to ensure an efficient service is delivered and staff and customer safety is achieved.
If you have a support worker or are engaging with another service, they can complete a referral form on your behalf
The self-service link can be found on the Housing Advice page on Tameside Councils website from the 19/02/2024 but is also here :

Tameside Housing Advice- 119-125 Old Street Ashton -under -Lyne OL6 7RL
Telephone: 0161 342 2700