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CIH Scotland

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 Scotland 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 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Citizens Advice Scotland have an advice site that can also help you find your local citizens advice bureau for face-to-face advice and help. Their main site includes information about benefits, immigration, housing and other useful topics.

Private renting and rights

Citizens Advice Scotland has sections on renting privately and so does the Shelter Scotland website, which also includes a brief guide to rent deposit schemes.

Advice for European nationals in the UK

European nationals can find links to organisations and websites that can help with problems on the page for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Advice for children

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.

Advice for migrant workers

TalentScotland is a talent attraction project designed to help employers in Scotland recruit the skills they need from abroad. It also offers advice about visas, immigration and relocation.

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 Midlothian 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.

Advice for refugees and asylum seekers

The largest organisation working for refugees in Scotland is the Scottish Refugee Council. It has some advice pages for particular circumstances:

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.

Refugee Action also has general advice for refugees and asylum seekers.

Positive Action in Housing is a Scottish-wide charity. They offer advice, information and support to people from new migrant, refugee and minority ethnic communities and run a free casework service for those facing poverty, homelessness, racism or poor housing. They also run a Hardship Fund and provide emergency shelter and practical resources for destitute asylum seekers and their families.

Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland has a useful leaflet for new refugees about the benefits they can claim.

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

Advice for destitute migrants

Positive Action in Housing is a Scottish-wide charity. More information on their services is given above.

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.

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.

Bail for Immigration Detainees is an independent charity that exists to challenge immigration detention in the UK. It has an advice line (020 7456 9750) open 10-12pm Monday to Thursday.

Other legal advice

The Scottish Legal Aid Board fund legal advice in Scotland and can tell you if you are eligible for help with legal costs.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has a toolkit about how to find a lawyer, how to make sure your lawyer is qualified, and what you can expect from each other.

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.

More Information

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland