Leave to remain – what to do next

This is a brief summary of how someone is told about Leave to Remain, and the essential next steps. Section 4 of the Migrant Help Guide to Asylum Process contains more detail.

When someone is granted Leave to Remain, under the 2019 contract Migrant Help as the first response centre:
• takes the first step and informs a client when the Home Office decision has been taken.
• tells the client what to do next.
• links with DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) and local housing offices.
• identifies users who need additional help such as face to face support with Universal Credit, housing, opening a bank account etc. The practical work is done by local groups such as SWVG and CLEAR, whilst Migrant Help remains in phone contact.

This basic ‘move-on’ service will be available for 28 days only. The referral will be carried out by Reeding Partnership.

Experience  in 2020/2021 in Southampton has shown that it is the housing manager who informs people of the next steps they have to take, if necessary with the help of an interpreter accessed via phone. If people are struggling to take the next steps by themselves, the housing manager will contact SWVG or CLEAR to find someone to help. In other words, the practical work is done by local groups.

The decision

The client receives notification of the Home Office decision through the post.

Biometric Residence Permit

Some receive their Biometric Residence Permit with their Home Office letter. Others have to wait. We don’t know why.

The Biometric Residence Permit states what kind of Leave to Remain the applicant has received:

  • Refugee’ or ‘Humanitarian Protection’ with Leave to Remain for five years is the best outcome. It means that after five years the person can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain without having to pay exorbitant fees.
  • ‘Discretionary Leave to Remain’ is usually granted for 30 months, after which the person has to apply for Further Leave to Remain paying £2000+ for the next 30 months.

In the majority of cases the Biometric Residence Permit states that work is permitted and that the person is entitled to public funds. Nowadays it also contains the National Insurance Number, necessary to apply for Universal Credit.

Occasionally the Biometric Residence Permit states that work is permitted but contains the letters NRPF, No Recourse to Public Funds, i.e. no Universal Credit, no social housing, no child benefit, no council tax reduction. A harsh decision, which makes the transition extremely difficult.

What to do now

Some clients are pro-active in dealing with all that needs to be done. Others need more support, for example, if they are not used to dealing with bureaucracy or lack sufficient English.

  1. Check the Biometric Residence Permit.  All details, spellings of names must be correct. The Home Office deals directly with issues regarding Biometric Residence Permits, including loss, NOT Migrant Help. Report any problems to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-registration-card-arc-enquiry
  2. Ask your client to make a copy of the Biometric Residence Permit on their phone or to take a photocopy. This is probably the most important piece of ID they have and they should do everything not to lose it. They don’t need to carry the real card around with them except when they need it as proof of ID when opening a bank account, confirming their application for Universal Credit, and applying for housing or jobs.
  3. After receipt of notification your client is entitled to another 28 days of NASS support and accommodation. Clearsprings Ready Homes and the Home Office must give them proper notice with a date when to leave.
  4. Open a bank account. Universal Credit is only paid into accounts. Your client needs to take the Biometric Residence Permit and proof of address. For proof of address, because asylum seekers don’t have utility or phone bills or driving licences, they should take letters sent to them by the Home Office or their solicitors. Nationwide seem to have been easier to deal with than some other banks.
  5. Apply for Universal Credit immediately because Universal Credit will only be backdated to the date the application went in. Apply online before you make an appointment with the local Job Centre to finalise the application. Claiming Universal Credit –  Government webpage. The staff at the Southampton Job Centre tend to be very understanding and helpful.
  6. Find accommodation. The local Housing Office is at Southampton Gateway. Clients with children are entitled to social housing. Initially this is likely to be in temporary accommodation. Single clients are unlikely to find any social housing and need to look on the private market. Encourage your client to be pro-active, talk to friends or acquaintances at church etc.
  7. Contact MAG if NASS subsistence has stopped before Universal Credit is received.

Updated April 2020