Overseas claimants

People from overseas who have entered the UK and applied for asylum cannot claim housing or council tax support.  However, you can claim if you have been granted refugee status or exceptional leave to remain in the UK or can satisfy the 'Habitual Residency Test'.

People from overseas who can claim housing or council tax support

If you are from one of the countries listed below, you can claim housing benefit or council tax support, unless the Home Office say that you are to leave the UK, or if you are not judged to be habitually resident.

The Habitual Residency Test is a test we must use sometimes, based on how long you have lived in the UK and on your future plans.

European Economic Areas (EEA) countries and those with charters or conventions with EEA countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (UK), Gibraltar, Switzerland, Turkey, and Macedonia
  • Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania
  • *Croatia

*Workers from Croatia will need to supply their blue registration certificate if they are a highly skilled migrant worker or skilled/low skilled worker with more than 12 months continuous work experience. Skilled and low skilled workers with less than 12 months work experience will need to provide their purple accession card. 

Self-employed workers from any of the above countries or those who have acquired worker status by being employed continuously for 12 months or more are not required to produce this documentation.  If you are a sponsored immigrant, you may not be entitled to these benefits.

Couples (including civil partners)

If one member of a married or unmarried couple or civil partnership is a person from overseas but the partner is not, the partner should make the claim in his/her name. We will then award housing benefit and council tax support in the normal way. 

Changes to the rules for EEA Nationals from 1 April 2014

EEA nationals who are awarded Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) on or after 1 April 2014 cannot claim housing benefit unless the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) consider them to have retained 'worker status'.  Worker status will not usualy last more than six months after which time housing benefit will end.

Council tax support can be paid to EEA nationals for the period that they are entitled to JSA with or without worker status.