Asylum and Migration
The roles of national and local government
A Message fo Welcome from Newcastle City Council
Services available to everyone
Newcastle Support Directory
Newcastle Libraries
Support for Asylum Seekers
Support after a decision on your asylum claim
Support for Refugees
 

Asylum and Migration

Newcastle has been welcoming asylum seekers for many years. While those seeking asylum have no choice over where in the UK they are dispersed to, we take great pride in the fact that so many refugees chose to settle here once their claim for asylum is determined.

As a city we are committed to doing what we can to welcome those seeking sanctuary and to help rebuild lives.

We are honoured to be a recognised City of Sanctuary; part of a network of towns and cities throughout the country that are proud to be places of safety, and which include people seeking sanctuary fully in the lives of their communities. 

For more information about Newcastle:City of Sanctuary and the partners involved please visit City of Sanctuary

 

The roles of national and local government

National government determines immigration status and whether or not an asylum seeker is accepted.  This is under the control of the Home Office and the UK Visas and Immigration department who decide who can legally reside in the UK. 

The Home Office is responsible for managing the dispersal, accommodation and support needs of asylum seekers while a decision on the asylum claim is made. The Home Office operate a number of regional contracts to facilitate this. In the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber this contract is held by G4S, who subcontract this work in the North East to a private housing provider called Jomast. 

The Local Authority is not responsible for placing or accommodating asylum seekers. Our role is in liaison with these private contractors to try and ensure that they can respond to local circumstances and to then manage the move-on arrangements when people are granted refugee status.

A Message of Welcome from Newcastle City Council

Introduction

Newcastle City Council would like to welcome you to Newcastle, a City of Sanctuary. Newcastle has a diverse population of about 290,000. We are proud of our reputation as a friendly welcoming city.  We want Newcastle to be a city where everyone feels welcome and has opportunities to reach their full potential in life. We hope this guide will help you to find out what support is available and how to access it.

This pack gives you an introduction to the services you can expect from Newcastle City Council. We appreciate that we may not cover everything here, and if you cannot find the answers you need, please contact the Asylum Team on 0191 277 1707 or asylum@newcastle.gov.uk.

Services available to everyone 

The following services are available to everyone regardless of immigration status in the UK. 

Health

The National Health Service (NHS) provides health care in the UK. Although most NHS health care treatment is free there are still some costs you might need to pay, for example, to receive medicines, dental treatment and eye tests. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to receive help paying these costs, details of these arrangement can be found here: www.nhs.uk/healthcosts

Asylum seekers are entitled to access NHS care without charge while their claim or appeal is being considered. You need an HC2 form, provided by UK Visa and Immigration, or available at pharmacies, to receive free medicines, dental treatment, eye tests and glasses.

You should register with a local doctor, called a General Practitioner (GP) as soon as possible so that you can get medical care if you need it. The GP’s practice is called a Surgery or a Medical/Health Centre and is often the first point of contact for many patients.

For more information on NHS services, visit: NHS

Learning English

There are a number of places where you can get help to improve your English language skills. Eligibility for free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes depends on your personal circumstances. Please contact Newcastle City Learning to find out more:

ESOL Service
Westgate College
West Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 9LU
Telephone: 0191 277 3520 or email: newcastlecitylearning@newcastle.gov.uk 

Education

In the UK all children aged between 5 years old and 16 years old are required by law to receive an education and school places are provided free of charge. To enrol your child in the nearest school which has places available please visit: School Admissions or contact 0191 278 7878 (Ask for “School Admissions”) to speak to an adviser for information and support.

Free School Meals

All children attending a Newcastle school can receive a free school meal in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. In older age groups, children may be eligible for free school meals if one of their parents is in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits. For more information and to apply visit: Free School Meals

Free School Travel

Children may be entitled to free travel between home and school in certain limited circumstances. For more information visit: Free School Travel

Early Education and Childcare Provision

All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to 15 hours free childcare at a playgroup, day nursery, with a childminder or in some schools. If parents work, their 3 and 4-year-olds may be able to access up to 30 hours of free childcare provision. Parents may also be able to access 15 hours of free childcare for their 2-year-old children in local nurseries or childcare settings if certain conditions are met. 

For more information about whether you are eligible, please visit: Free Childcare or contact 0191 278 7878 (Ask for “Childcare”) to speak to an adviser for information and support.

To apply for a place, you will need to contact the Early Education or Childcare provider that interests you directly. For details of all provision available in Newcastle please visit: Newcastle Support Directory or contact 0191 278 7878 (Ask for “Childcare”).

Early Years Support

If you have children aged under 5 years you can find out what services and activities are available in your local area, including education, childcare, family support, health services and adult learning, by visiting: Sure Start

Young People

Connexions Newcastle upon Tyne provides careers information, advice and guidance services to young people aged 13-19 (and up to age 25 for young people with special needs). Young people can access Connexions services in Newcastle City Library between Monday-Friday 10am–5pm or contact 0191 277 1944 to speak to an advisor.

Social Care

Newcastle City Council can offer support in some circumstances, dependent on assessment of needs, to individuals and families who are experiencing difficulties due to a disability, care needs or responsibilities or any other difficulties with family life. 

For adults contact Community Health and Social Care Direct 0191 278 8377
For children contact the Initial Response Service 0191 277 2500

Early Help

Early Help is the extra support your family can receive if you need it. It may be that you want to prevent a problem or change things for your family before a problem becomes more serious. It is voluntary and we need your consent.

Early Help brings together different workers who will support the whole family to try to make things improve for everyone. Early Help could include support with parenting, employment, anti-social behaviour, school attendance and emotional wellbeing. To contact the Early Help team, please call 0191 211 5808 or email earlyhelp@newcastle.gov.uk

Newcastle Support Directory

Newcastle Support Directory is an online guide to local services, support agencies, childcare and activities for you and your family. Our directory includes opening times, charges, contact details, venue maps and directions. You can search by postcode, date or day of the week, activity or topic of interest. If you need help to use the directory, you can contact us on 0191 278 7878 (Ask for “Families Information Service”) to speak to an adviser.

Newcastle Libraries

Newcastle Libraries provide free access to a wide range of books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs as well as free access to computers and the internet (including wi-fi). If you are unsure about using a computer or how to get online we can help you with this. There are regular one-to-one sessions held at our libraries where a member of staff will sit down with you and go through everything step-by-step at a pace to suit you. To find out more please visit your local library or contact 0191 277 4100.  

The main city centre library is:

Newcastle City Library 
Charles Avison Building
33 New Bridge Street West
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8AX

Support for Asylum Seekers 

We have a dedicated team of Local Authority Asylum Seeker Liaison Officers (LAASLOs) who can support you during the asylum process. These officers will support the ‘move on’ process if you are granted refugee status and will offer advice and signposting if you receive a negative decision on your asylum claim.  Please contact the Asylum Team on 0191 277 1707 or Asylum Team

If you have claimed asylum as a refugee and are awaiting a decision you can apply for financial support and housing from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) which is part of the Home Office, a department of UK Government.  UKVI are responsible for making a decision on your asylum claim and providing you with accommodation and financial support while you are waiting.  

Asylum Help is a national service, funded by UKVI, providing free, independent advice and guidance to asylum seekers to help make claims for support and give general advice about the asylum process. You will need to contact them to make a claim for asylum support in the first instance, please visit: Asylum Support or call 0808 8000 630. 

If you have no other means of support you will be provided with accommodation on a ‘no choice’ basis by one of UKVI’s contracted accommodation providers; in Newcastle these housing providers are G4S and Jomast. They are responsible for your accommodation and support. Please contact them in the first instance if you have any issues regarding your housing or financial support.

If your housing provider is G4S contact the G4S Service Centre 01909 533500

If your housing provider is Jomast contact 0191 2817381

Support after a decision on your asylum claim

We have a dedicated team of Local Authority Asylum Seeker Liaison Officers (LAASLOs) who can support you during the asylum process. These officers will support the ‘move on’ process if you are granted refugee status and will offer advice and signposting if you receive a negative decision on your asylum claim.  

To contact the LAASLO team, please call 0191 277 1707 or email asylum@newcastle.gov.uk

If you have had a positive decision on your asylum claim and have received refugee leave or some other form of leave to remain then you will be required to leave your asylum accommodation. You should receive 28 days’ notice of the date that you must leave. 

When you receive your notification please get in touch with the LAASLO team who will work with the Refugee Move on Team at Your Homes Newcastle, to help you to:

access accommodation

apply for the benefits you may be entitled to

find out about the local community

refer you into education, training and employment opportunities

Your housing provider may already have referred you into the LAASLO Team and someone from the team may contact you. However, the sooner you start working with the LAASLO the better so please make contact as soon as you receive your letter telling you that your asylum support and accommodation is due to stop.

If you have had a negative decision on your asylum claim then you will also be expected to leave your asylum accommodation and your financial support will stop. You will receive notice to leave the accommodation within 21 days. It is important that you seek specialist support to help you consider your options. The LAASLO team will be able to offer advice and signposting. 

To contact the LAASLO team, please call 0191 277 1707 or email asylum@newcastle.gov.uk

The following voluntary sector organisations may be able to offer short term support while you consider your options. 

North of England Refugee Service (NERS)
2 Friars Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4AX
Tel: 0191 245 7301
www.refugee.org.uk

West End Refugee Service (WERS)
St Philips Vicarage
St Philips Close
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 5JE
Tel: 0191 273 7482
www.wers.org.uk

British Red Cross
Croft House
Western Avenue
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 8SR
Tel: 0191 2737961
www.redcross.org.uk

Support for Refugees

If you have been granted refugee status, discretionary leave or humanitarian protection you will have similar rights to UK citizens, unless you have been granted discretionary leave with no recourse to public funds. Listed below are details of how you can get help with core services:

Housing

Depending on your situation, you have several options:

Council Housing

Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) provides housing on behalf of the Council. To find out how to apply for a council or other housing association home and to see properties that are available to rent please visit:  YHN

Private Rented Housing

For advice about renting a house privately you can contact the Private Rented Service on: 0191 277 1438 or email privaterented@newcastle.gov.uk 

Housing Advice and Homelessness

If you need housing advice, are at risk of homelessness or are homeless and have nowhere to stay please contact the Housing Advice Centre. 

Housing Advice Centre
112-114 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne 
NE1 6SQ
Telephone: 0191 277 1711 or email: housingadvicecentre@newcastle.gov.uk

If it is out of hours (after 5.30pm or any time at a weekend) and you have nowhere to sleep please contact: 0191 278 7878 (Ask for the ‘Emergency Homeless Officer’).

UK Benefits System

If you are granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain, you can apply for help and financial support through the UK benefits system provided you meet the usual conditions of entitlement.

For welfare rights and money advice please visit: Welfare Rights

Employment

There are a number of organisations which can help you to look for work. If you are in receipt of benefits it may be a requirement of the Jobcentre Plus that you look for work. 

For information on organisations that can help please visit: Newcastle Support Directory

Family Reunion

If you have refugee or humanitarian protection you may be able to apply to have your partner and/or child(ren) join you. It is important that you seek specialist, professional advice from an organisation who can advise you on this such as:

Newcastle Law Centre
MEA House
Ellison Place
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8XS
Tel: 0191 230 4777
www.newcastlelawcentre.co.uk

British Red Cross
Croft House
Western Avenue
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 8SR
Tel: 0191 2737961
www.redcross.org.uk

Once you know that your family will be joining you please get in touch with the Intensive Family Support team who may be able to offer support on 0191 226 1006.