Immigration and housing in Brighton

Housing in Brighton, and the whole of the south-east in general, is in a mess. Rental prices are ludicrously high. Renters get nothing in return for the astronomical sums they shell out just for the right to be inside a building for 6 months to a year. If you were born outside of the UK, the situation is even worse. It can be a complete disaster if you were born outside of Europe.

Most British nationals are eligible for housing benefit and council tax benefit. You also have a chance of getting access to social housing. Those systems are not well administered and mostly seem to serve to transfer wealth to private landlords. They do, at least, increase your chances of having a roof over your head. There are people who live here who have no right to any state assistance. Of course, if you can find a well paying job, then you can afford to rent somewhere. However, well paying jobs are hard to find and some of those people have no right to work anyway.

A quick breakdown of the rules:

  • People who are claiming asylum, in general, have access to housing from the Home Office. They have no choice where to live and it is almost always well away from the south-east. They have no right to work.
  • People whose asylum claim has been rejected and whose appeal rights have been exhausted have no access to any state support at all or the right to work. Strangely, some of those people still cannot leave the UK.
  • People who have the right to be here for a period of limited duration (although that period can be pretty long) rarely have the right to state support.
  • People who have indefinite leave to remain but on the grounds that somebody else is guaranteed to support them, have no right to state support.
  • People who are not ‘habitually resident’ in the UK have no right to state support. What ‘habitual residence’ means is a little bit vague.
  • People from the EU only have the right to support as long as they are ‘economically active’.

The net result is that there are homeless migrants in Brighton who have no real hope of finding a house. Asylum seekers might prefer to be homeless here then dispersed away from their networks of support. You might be in Brighton because you have a partner here, but then that relationship ends. If so, you’ll have a visa that gives you a time-limited stay and nowhere to live. A French person whose health deteriorates rapidly is going to end up unable to work and unable to pay for the housing. It is an inhumane situation.

A small plug for our project, we are asking people to give as little as £1 a month in the hope that we can generate the income to provide secure accommodation for people on the wrong side of immigration law. If you want to sign up click here.

For information on the rules on state support and immigration see:

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06847
http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01909
http://www.housing-rights.info/index.php

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