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New Arrivals


Who can help?

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Getting advice about housing

Shelter offer written advice on private renting, deposits, problems with landlords, etc on their website. This allows you to search for housing advice by area, and to get the contact details of Shelter's local offices, which offer free advice and help with all types of housing problems. Shelter also run a free helpline for urgent problems on 0808 800 4444, open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at weekends.

In Wales, Shelter Cymru offer written advice on homelessness, finding a place to live, problems with landlords, etc on their website. They also offer advice by telephone on 0345 075 5005 and can answer email enquiries via the website. They run a network of local offices and you can use the link to find the nearest one to you here.

A website run by Homeless Link offers information about services for anyone facing homelessness, including a directory of services.

Citizens Advice have an advice site that can also help you find your local citizens advice bureau for face-to-face advice and help. The site includes information about benefits, immigration, housing and other useful topics. It has separate sections for the different parts of the UK and has a section in Welsh (click the 'Cymru' tab).

ARHAG has a free national benefits and housing advice line available to all BME women or girls in the UK who require help or advice with a housing or benefit issue, such as universal credit, maximising benefits, support dealing with overpayments, and maximising benefits through grants and other options. The advice line is open on Tuesdays between 10am and 3pm and can be reached at 0800 3890 405.

Private renting and rights

Crisis has a Help to Rent Database on this page where you can find out about schemes that may be able to help with deposits and rent in advance.

Rent Smart Wales is a scheme which can help find a good landlord or agent of private rented property in parts of Wales. The website has a search facility and other information about renting privately. It also publishes leaflets for tenants from diverse backgrounds who might suffer discrimination in renting from private landlords.

Advice for children and young people

Coram Children's Legal Centre has a Migrant Children's Project which offers resources on their rights and advice on legal issues relating to migrant children via an email service.

The Law Centres Network publishes a simple guide to the housing options for homeless 16 and 17 year olds, with places to go for further help.

Advice for migrant workers

The Trades Union Congress, which represents all major UK trades unions, has an easy-access guide to Working in the UK. It also runs the worksmart website which includes questions and answers on issues about working conditions.

The UK government website has a section offering advice on working, jobs and pensions, which includes guidance on the National Minimum Wage.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC - a government department which collects and administers taxes and pays tax credits and child benefits) have pages for migrant workers explaining taxes, national insurance, self-employment, tax credits and the National Minimum Wage which they enforce.

The Health and Safety Executive which enforces health and safety at work legislation has pages for migrant workers.

The AIRE centre can offer written advice about some aspects of the rights of European migrants in the UK.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority regulates gangmasters (agents employing workers) in certain industries and has an advice page for workers.

Benefits and taxes

The Department for Work and Pensions administers welfare benefits (for the unemployed and those unable to work) in the UK. The UK government website includes comprehensive information about benefits for:

No information is currently available in languages other than English or Welsh. Tax credits are available for some people who are on low incomes, but in work.

This independent welfare rights site by Dumfries Welfare Rights has written guides to all the main benefits.

Many local councils include a housing and council tax benefits calculator on their sites (here is an example from Salford City Council). Turn2us also has a benefits checker (but may be of limited use to new migrants).

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group has a section of its website which covers benefits and tax issues for migrants. Together with the Migrants Resource Centre it also operates a telephone helpline - 033 33355 333.

Advice on equalities issues

The Equality Advisory Support Service provides information advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues to individuals in England, Scotland and Wales. Their advice line number is 0808 800 0082 and they are open until 7.00pm weekdays and 2.00pm on Saturdays.

Rent Smart Wales also provides guidance for tenants suffering discrimination by private landlords.

Advice for asylum seekers and refugees

The largest organisation working for refugees in England is the Refugee Council. It has advice pages and has links to other support services.

The Welsh Refugee Council works with refugees over all of Wales.

Refugee Action also have advice pages for refugees and asylum seekers.

The Asylum Seeker Housing Project has a website which makes it easy for asylum seekers in Home Office accommodation to make complaints or report repairs.

Migrant Help runs a free asylum helpline and can assist with applications for asylum support, reporting maintenance issues with asylum accommodation and advice on any asylum-related queries. The phone number is 0808 8010 503, open 24 hours daily, and on their website there is a webchat service and there are self-serve forms and other information.

The Department for Work and Pensions has a guide for refugees about looking for work and claiming benefits and pensions.

Advice for destitute migrants

Praxis Community Projects is based in London and offers a telephone and drop in advice service to all vulnerable migrants, including rejected asylum seekers and people with no recourse to public funds and other immigration problems.

Doctors of the World run a London clinic and advocacy programme based at Praxis, for anyone who has difficulty accessing mainstream healthcare.

NACCOM is the UK national No Accommodation network which provides a list and map of all projects offering accommodation to migrants with no recourse to public funds.

Project 17 offers advice to people with children who need to apply to social services for accommodation.

The Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution is a group of national organisations working on this issue and their website has links to resources produced by their members.

Other legal advice

You can search for solicitor near you who can give advice under the legal aid scheme using the search tool for England and Wales. The tool allows you search by location (postcode, town or city) and by subject matter (e.g. immigration, housing and welfare benefits).

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else.

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