An asylum seeker is someone who asks to stay in a country because it is not safe or possible for them to stay in their own country. Often this is because of war or poverty. If you're an asylum seeker, you can
- arrange your own accommodation, although you can't get benefits to pay for the cost of this, or
- stay in accommodation arranged by the government.
If the government agrees that the person can't stay in their own country, they'll be given refugee status. A refugee has the same rights to apply for housing as a British or Irish person living in Northern Ireland.
Asylum seekers’ eligibility for homelessness help and welfare benefits
Asylum seekers are not eligible for help with homelessness and cannot apply for benefits. The Home Office is responsible for providing accommodation for asylum seekers.
If you are an asylum seeker, you should be provided with accommodation until your asylum claim has been refused or until you have been given refugee status.
Refugees’ eligibility for homelessness help and welfare benefits
Refugees can apply for social housing and for benefits, like Universal Credit.
Refugees have to go through the exact same process as British and Irish citizens when they apply for housing.
If you are a refugee with nowhere to live, you can ask the Housing Executive for help as a homeless person.
Get advice from Housing Rights if you are a refugee who needs help with a housing problem.