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CIH Scotland

Housing advisers

Other information for advisers

This page is for housing advisers.  If you are a new arrival please click here to go to sections more relevant for you.

Below is a listing of books, sites, forums, etc that the authors have found useful in working in these areas.

Textbooks, manuals and guides

The Legal Services Agency publishes Homelessness and the Law (pdf) by Professor Tom Mullen (latest edition - 2009). It summarises relevant UK case law and makes reference to the May 2005 Code of Guidance. The LSA also publishes a range of other material on homelessness.

CIH and Shelter publish the Guide to Housing Benefit 2014-17 which includes chapters on immigration status and entitlement for European nationals. The guide is the standard text used by the majority of advisers and is written in an accessible style.

CPAG publish a Benefits for Migrants Handbook described as 'a definitive guide to the social security entitlement conditions for people who have come to or are leaving the UK'. The latest edition is from 2014.

Support for Asylum-seekers and other Migrants by Sue Willman and Stephen Knafler QC published by the Legal Action Group in 2009 is the only handbook focusing exclusively on the welfare and legal rights of asylum seekers. It has now been expanded to cover the welfare needs of other migrants, in particular refused asylum seekers at the end of the process, and EU nationals.

The Equality and Diversity Forum have a detailed briefing (pdf) on the duties that are required from public authorities in the UK in providing for refugees and migrants, as a result of the Equality Act 2010.

Housing and Support Services for Asylum Seekers and Refugees - A Good Practice Guide by John Perry, published by CIH for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2005. Note that the information about benefit and housing entitlements in this excellent guide is now out of date.

The Scottish Refugee Council publishes A Housing Practitioner's Guide to Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees (pdf).

Guidance for housing associations on Housing Migrants and Refugees (pdf) was published in June 2011 by Glasgow Housing Association in conjunction with the SHFA, the Scottish Government, the Lintel Trust and Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.  This detailed guide includes a very useful section on interviewing applicants for housing, as well as covering a wide range of other relevant issues.

COSLA's Strategic Migration Partnership (see below) have a Policy Toolkit (updated in 2011) about encouraging migration, which covers the full range of policy areas including housing and homelessness.

Praxis publish an online Manual for People Advising Undocumented Migrants (last updated in 2011). An invaluable resource for all those who come across undocumented migrants in their work, the manual is a complete guide for non-lawyers on advising this category of clients.

The Child Poverty Action Group publishes a Benefits for Migrants Handbook and has a telephone and email benefits advice service for advisers.

FEANTSA, the EU-wide body working with homelessness, publishes an English-language guide to the rights of EU citizens. It is aimed at new arrivals in Sweden, but is generally applicable to the UK.

Legislation and case law

All UK legislation can be accessed via the UK legislation website.

Most recent UK and relevant European case law is in the huge BAILII database. European law can also be accessed on the EUR-Lex website.

Social security legislation (statute and regulations) can be accessed via the DWP's Law Relating to Social Security web page. The great advantage of this page is that it shows the consolidated law (i.e. with amendments).

The Migrants' Law Project has a set of factsheets on different aspects of immigration law that are kept up-to-date.


UK Visas and Immigration is run by the Home Office. From their section of the website you can follow links to relevant legislation, the current version of the Immigration Rules and the publicly available guidance to immigration officers, as well as advice to those applying to come to or stay in the UK and those wishing to naturalise.

The website of the Scottish Government contains copies of circulars and letters to local authorities, including relevant codes of guidance.

Forums and Newsletters

Rightsnet runs a forum and provides a range of information for those advising on benefits.

Migrants' Rights Network has a weekly newsletter which aims to inform members and other groups working on migration issues related to regional and national policy developments, campaign news, recent research and upcoming events.

COSLA Strategic Migration Partnership publishes a useful (2012) guide to Establishing Migrants' Access to Benefits and Local Authority Services in Scotland. Their website has a range of other useful publications and information on current projects.

Scottish Migrants Network is a network of organisations, community groups and statutory bodies working nationally to focus on issues around migration specific to Scotland.

BEMIS (Black and Ethnic Minorities Infrastructure in Scotland) provides a regular MEMO (Minority Ethnic Matters Overview) with information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.

There is a regional website for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which provides an example of a project that local authorities and housing associations have developed to help new arrivals in a particular part of Scotland. It has information in the main languages spoken by newly arrived people in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire.

Advice and support in dealing with destitute migrants

LASA has a website in which you enter a postcode to find the local social work department and other relevant advice services, shown on a local map.

Praxis offers advice to those advising or helping destitute and irregular migrants.

Asylum Support Appeals Project is a small national charity which aims to reduce destitution amongst asylum seekers by protecting their legal rights to food and shelter. It offers an advice line, factsheets and training.

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

Naccom has a guide to organising hosting schemes for destitute migrants in the resources section of its website.

Background Topics

How can we improve housing for new migrants in the UK?

A Housing Practitioners' Guide to Integrating Asylum Seekers & Refugees

A Housing Practitioners Guide to Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Published by the Scottish Refugee Council with support from CIH Scotland

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland