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Immigration and Asylum

What is Immigration Control?

Immigration control is about how and why people from countries outside the UK are allowed to come to the UK and how long they can stay. It is also about what they are allowed to do when they are in the UK, for example, whether they can work, whether relatives can come to the UK to join them afterwards, and whether they can use the National Health Service or claim benefits.


Immigration Issues

Examples of problems that people coming into the country may need advice on are:

  • getting permission to stay in the UK for longer than they originally intended
  • getting permission to do something which they are not at present allowed to do, for example, being allowed to work
  • bringing relatives into the country, for example, a spouse or children
  • being threatened with deportation from the UK
  • being held by the immigration authorities in a detention centre
  • wanting a passport and not knowing whether they are entitled to a British passport or some other passport
  • wanting to apply to become a British Citizen
  • wanting to travel outside of the UK, for example, for a holiday
  • whether they are entitled to use state services or claim benefits, for example, education, health services, council housing, social security benefits, housing benefits, council tax benefit
  • the right to vote
  • a relative or friend being refused entry to the UK when arriving at an airport or port

The habitual residence test

If you’re an EEA national and want to claim certain means-tested benefits, you must normally meet the conditions of the habitual residence test.

The purpose of the test is to see whether you have the right to live in the UK (known as the right to reside), and whether you intend to settle in the UK for the time being, which is known as habitual residence.

When you fill in your benefits claim form, you will be asked questions to decide whether you need to go through the habitual residence test. If you do, you will be asked for more information to decide if you are habitually resident.

You can argue that you have a right to reside if you:

  • are working or self-employed
  • are jobseeking
  • are a former worker
  • are self-sufficient
  • are a student
  • have been living in the UK for at least five years
  • are the primary carer of a child who themselves has the right to reside
  • are the family member of someone with the right to reside.

Local Help and Advice

Citizen’s Advice Newcastle (CAN) can give you free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information on a wide range of subjects including benefits, housing, employment, legal matters, immigration and family and personal matters.

The Newcastle Law Centre provides free confidential legal advice on Immigration & Asylum issues to Newcastle residents.

The North of England Refugee Service provides confidential advice and support on all matters relating to asylum seekers and refugees.

The West End Refugee Service (WERS) is a registered charity working with refugees and asylum seekers living in the West End of Newcastle. Their services include:

  • Advice sessions
  • Counselling service
  • Home visits
  • Befriending scheme
  • Clothing store
  • Emergency hardship fund

Acane (African Community Advice North East) provides support for the settlement of asylum seekers and refugees from the African continent in the North East.

Peace of Mind Communities run projects to help refugees and asylum seekers. Their projects include:

  • an advice drop in session
  • a small dedicated fund to help destitute refugees and asylum seekers in emergencies
  • help to fill the holiday gap with activities and refreshments for children and carers during the holidays
  • occasional training sessions such as parenting or community safety
  • Bensham Community Food Co-op

Other Useful Information

Last updated: February 6, 2019

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