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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Housing Rights of Syrian refugees

A second group of Syrian refugees have arrived in Northern Ireland. These individuals and families are being relocated in Northern Ireland in accordance with the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme 2015. Under the Scheme, the UK Government has agreed to accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years. 

People are being resettled throughout the UK, this is the second group to arrive in Northern Ireland. The resettlement is being overseen by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Department for Social Development, and a number of voluntary organisations.

Qualifying for the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme 2015

All of the Syrian refugees arriving in NI will have experienced some degree of trauma. They have also been living for some time in refugee camps in countries near to Syria. To qualify for help under the Scheme, persons must either be;

  • a survivor of torture or violence, or
  • a woman or child at risk, or
  • in need of medical care.

The UK government will give them humanitarian protection, which means that they have leave to remain in the UK for 5 years. After the 5 years, they can apply to settle in the UK.

What housing help is available for refugees in Northern Ireland?

It is likely that the refugees will initially be placed in private rented accommodation. However, it is important that anyone advising this group of people understands that, under the Scheme, humanitarian protection enables them to apply for:

  • social housing
  • homelessness assistance
  • social security benefits (including Housing Benefit)
  • employment
  • access to healthcare
  • education

If they need to apply for social housing, homelessness assistance or Housing Benefit, their application should be considered on the same basis as any other applicant i.e. they will be assessed under the appropriate legislation to determine their eligibility.

Learn more about the housing rights of migrants in Northern Ireland

The housing rights of migrants emanate from a complex array of immigration, housing and social security legislation.  Housing Rights are holding a one day training course on the 6 June, to enable participants to understand the housing rights of migrants living in Northern Ireland. Housing rights in this context refers to the right to:

  • Access social housing
  • Access homelessness assistance
  • Access Housing Benefit to pay for accommodation.

The course will focus on:

  • The distinct categories of migrants
  • The rights of migrants to reside in the UK
  • The rights of migrants to work in the UK and the impact of their economic status (or lack of) on their rights to access social housing and homelessness assistance and housing benefit
  • Help available to migrants from Social Services
  • Help available to asylum seekers and refugees.

Prices start from £72 for members of Housing Rights.

Tagged In

Benefits, Minority Groups, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies