After you get refugee status
If you’ve claimed asylum and you get refugee status, the Home Office will send you a biometric residence permit (BRP) by post.
You can use your BRP to confirm your:
right to study
right to any public services or benefits that you're entitled to
Asylum support and 'section 4' support will stop 30 days after the date on your BRP. You'll get a letter confirming when asylum support will stop.
This means you’ll:
stop getting your cash allowance
have to move house - if you’ve been given somewhere to live as an asylum seeker
Once you’ve got refugee status, you’ll get permission to work in the UK - in any profession and at any skill level. If you’re not ready or able to look for work and have very little or no income, you can apply for benefits instead.
You’ll also have to think about opening a bank account and getting a National Insurance number.
When you get migrant status, the Home Office will tell Migrant Help. Migrant Help is an organisation that can help you find housing, claim benefits and make an appointment at the Jobcentre. They’ll contact you within 1 working day of being told about your migrant status.
If you need extra support
Contact your local Citizens Advice for help with benefits and housing, and to get details of local charities, English language schools and community groups.
Find a new home
If you’ve been living somewhere as part of getting asylum support, you’ll have to move within 30 days of the date on your BRP.
Your accommodation provider should send you a letter giving you at least 7 days’ notice of when you have to move out.
If you don’t get at least 7 days’ notice, Migrant Help can ask the Home Office to let you stay in your accommodation for longer.
You can contact Migrant Help by either:
sending an email to email@example.com
calling the free asylum helpline on 0808 8010 503
If you already live with friends or family
You don’t need to move. If your friends or family are claiming benefits to help them pay rent, it might mean they get less.
If you need help getting housing
Contact your local council or housing office as soon as you can. The Home Office don’t provide accommodation to refugees, but your local council will be able to talk you through your options.
Whether you can stay in the same area depends on things like:
how long you’ve lived there
if you have family in the area
if you’re at risk of becoming homeless
It’s worth knowing there are long waiting lists for accommodation - you might be put in a bed and breakfast (B&B) or hostel temporarily.
Getting help if you’re homeless
If you’re worried about becoming homeless, you can call the homeless charity Shelter on 0808 800 4444.
Shelter also has advice for refugees on getting help if you’re homeless.
You can also search online through Homeless Link to find emergency accommodation yourself.
If you need help paying a tenancy deposit, you can search for help to rent schemes through the housing charity Crisis.
If you’re ready to look for work, you can search online.
If you’re in London, the Refugee Council’s employment advice and support service have a course that will help you if you’re not quite sure where to start.
Contact UK NARIC if you have qualifications from your home country - you’ll need to find their UK equivalent to find a similar job here. It costs at least £55.20 to do this.
You might be entitled to benefits in the UK even though you’ll stop getting Asylum Support.
You might be entitled to benefits like:
Universal Credit - if you’re unemployed, too ill to work or on a low wage
Pension Credit - if you’ve reached State Pension age
Housing Benefit - if you need help to pay rent and you’ve reached State Pension age or you’re in temporary or supported housing
a refugee integration loan - to help pay for a rent deposit, household items, education and training for work
You’ll need a National Insurance number to claim benefits - you’ll have applied for one at your interview with the Home Office when you first claimed asylum. You’ll also need it to pay tax and register with a doctor.
Get a National Insurance number
Normally, you’ll get your National Insurance (NI) number through the post just after you get refugee status.
If you haven’t received a NI number, call the National Insurance number application line. Ask whether they’ve issued you with a NI number - if they haven’t, ask what you need to do to get one.
Opening a bank account
Now that you have an immigration status, you’re allowed to open a UK bank account. It makes things like paying for food and bills much easier.
It should be an easy process if you have proof of your immigration status, but some banks might not have seen a BRP before. It’s a legal and valid form of identification (ID), no matter what they tell you. If they don’t accept it, print this page out and take it along to the bank.
Get more help
It includes guidance on things like:
employment and benefits
housing and services
Page last reviewed on 27 September 2019