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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), which summarises relevant UK case law. The LSA also publishes a range of other material on homelessness.

CIH and Shelter publish guides to housing benefit, council tax rebate and universal credit which include chapters on immigration status and entitlement for European nationals. The guides are the standard texts used by the majority of advisers, are updated annually and are 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'. It is updated regularly and you can find the latest edition at the CPAG bookshop.

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.

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.  Although now somewhat out-of-date, this detailed guide includes a very useful section on interviewing applicants for housing, as well as covering a wide range of other relevant issues.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 Migration Scotland website has a Policy Toolkit (updated in 2015) about encouraging migration, which covers the full range of policy areas including housing and homelessness. Their website has a range of other useful publications and information on current projects, including a new guide to working with those with no recourse to public funds (see below).

The Child Poverty Action Group publishes a Benefits for Migrants Handbook (updated 2014) and has a telephone and email benefits advice service for advisers.

The Scottish Government Code of Guidance on Homelessness was updated in 2019.

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.

You can search for most social security commissioners and upper tribunal decisions before 1 January 2016, by their file number, neutral citation or by subject area (e.g. residence and presence) on the old HMCTS decisions database. For social security upper tribunal decisions from the 1 January 2016 search the Administrative Appeals decisions database .

The DWP produce regular updates of the main social security legislation (statute and regulations) which are published on the government’s legislation website. These include: The Universal Credit Regulations; The Housing Benefit Regulations; and The Pension Age Housing Benefit Regulations. The specific regulations that relate to new arrivals are also reproduced on our UK legislation page. The great advantage of all these sources is that they show the consolidated law (i.e. with amendments) – and our UK legislation page is usually updated in the same week that any amendments come into force.

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.

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.

Advice and support in dealing with destitute migrants

COSLA has a new (2019) guide to migrants' rights and entitlements which focuses on help for those with no recourse to public funds.

The NRPF Network is a network of local authorities and partner organisations focusing on the statutory response to migrants with care needs who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). They publish a range of practical guidance to help local authorities assess eligibility for services. They have a web-based tool to help local authorities and others check the entitlements of 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 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's website has links to a range of resources. The project has ended but it published a very useful Migrant Destitution Toolkit.

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