Briefing Note On Social Housing And Immigration


Employment, European Union, Health, Housing, Policy, Visas/Work Permits, Welfare Benefits

Demand
exceeds supply

1  The Prime
Minister’s speech proposed that immigrants should wait 2-5 years before joining
the waiting list which, in England, has grown dramatically in recent years from
around a million in 2001 to two million today[1].
 

Immigration
Status and Eligibility

2  Currently EEA
nationals who are habitually resident in the UK have to be treated exactly the
same as British citizens in their application for social housing[2]. This in effect
means that EEA nationals can join the social housing register from day one.

3  Nationals from
outside the EU can join the social housing register if they have Indefinite
Leave to Remain or have been granted refugee status.

4  Recent reforms in
the localism act allow local authorities to house homeless people in the
private rented sector and to give some priority to people with a local
connection.  However, most local
authorities with large waiting lists have ignored the option of favouring those
with a local connection.

The
impact of recent immigration

5  Nationally around 1 in 10 new lets goes
to foreign nationals but there is huge local variation. For example it appears
that nearly half of the lets in the London boroughs of Ealing and Haringey go
to foreign nationals[3].  In Peterborough and Boston in the Fens over a
quarter of new lets go to foreign nationals[4]. 

6  It is difficult to
get a complete picture at the local level because the survey question on
nationality is optional. This has allowed some local authorities to avoid
answering it. In London less than half the local authority lets had nationality
data against them[5]. 

Recommendations

7  We recommend that
the nationality question be made compulsory and that there be a public inquiry
into the allocation of social housing in recent years, particularly in London.                                                                   


[4]
Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales https://core.communities.gov.uk/
Advanced Analysis of General Needs new lets by local authority where previous
tenure not social housing.

 

25th March 2013

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