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Asylum Seeker And Refugee Support

As part of the UK’s asylum seeker dispersal arrangements and refugee resettlement programme, the Leader of St Helens Council announced in September 2015 that the council and local partner organisations would be working with the Government to identify 30 homes across the borough for asylum seekers and refugees arriving in the UK.

Homelessness, older people, armed forces and others

This page contains information about Asylum Seeker and Refugee dispersal. If you are concerned about the way St Helens Council helps to meet the needs of other vulnerable groups in our community.

An person within the asylum claim process (commonly known as an Asylum Seeker)

  • No right to work in the UK
  • Housed under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements
  • Supported under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements (cash 70% of income support)
  • Restricted rights to volunteer
  • May use the NHS

A person who has been granted Refugee Status (a successful Asylum claimant)

  • No longer supported under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements
  • Full rights to work in the UK
  • Full rights to live in the UK
  • Full rights to volunteer, subject to Disclosure and Barring Scheme
  • May apply for state welfare and benefits
  • May use the NHS

A person with leave to remain on Humanitarian Grounds (an Asylum claimant whose home country is deemed too unstable or dangerous for them to return to)

  • No longer supported under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements
  • Full rights to work in the UK
  • Full rights to live in the UK
  • Full rights to volunteer, subject to Disclosure and Barring Scheme
  • May apply for state welfare and benefits
  • May use the NHS

A person refused Asylum but agreeing to leave the UK (an unsuccessful Asylum claimant)

  • No right to work in the UK
  • Housed under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements
  • Supported under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements (Vouchers for certain goods at restricted outlets)
  • Restricted rights to volunteer
  • May use the NHS

A person refused Asylum but unwilling to leave the UK (an unsuccessful Asylum claimant)

  • No financial, housing or other support under Asylum Seeker Dispersal arrangements
  • No right to work in the UK
  • No right to state housing support
  • No right to state welfare or benefits
  • No recourse to public funds
  • Restricted rights to volunteer
  • NHS Emergency Services Only

The criteria for refugee status are set out in the UN 1951 Refugee Convention. Under Article 1(A)2, the term “refugee” applies to any person who:

“...owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

Refugees are defined by three basic characteristics:

  • they are outside their country of origin or outside the country of their former habitual residence;
  • they are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted; and
  • the persecution feared is based on at least one of five grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

A refugee has the same rights as any other citizen, apart from the right to vote.

The term “asylum seeker” refers to a person who has applied for asylum, but whose refugee status has yet to be determined.

Until an asylum claim is determined, an asylum seeker in the UK has limited or restricted rights.

  • Where an asylum claim is proven the person is granted refugee status.
  • Where an asylum claim is refused, the “refused asylum seeker” has no leave to remain in the UK.
  • Under certain circumstances an asylum seeker may be granted leave to remain on humanitarian grounds

An unaccompanied child seeking asylum in the UK (under the age of 18) is supported by the State.

Some asylum seekers are dispersed within the UK whilst their claim is being processed. To find out how this is arranged in St.Helens visit our Asylum Seeker Dispersal Arrangements page.

NB A person seeking asylum is different to an economic migrant, the latter is a foreign national who has permission to work in the UK.  

NB A person seeking asylum is not an illegal immigrant, the latter has no right to be in the UK