Tag Archives: united-kingdom

Inaccurate information presented on Housing-Rights.info

I was referred to a www.Housing-Rights.info in a FOI Response from Worcester City Council. I noticed that the website actually presented inaccurate information. I therefore informed them of this inaccurate information, and requested that they correct the information.

To:
Subject: Incorrect information on Housing-rights.info website.

Dear Sir(s),

I write with reference to your website: www.housing-rights.info  – particularly http://www.housing-rights.info/02_6_EEA_family_members.php

I note that this website states the following:

Family members who are not themselves EEA nationals must apply for a residence permit within three months of arriving in the UK: the permit must be issued within six months of the application.

Applications for residence documentation in line with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 is entirely optional. No application is required. This information is correctly advised by the Home Office in Chapter 2 of the European Operations Policy in Section 1.1:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-casework-instructions

As I am sure you are aware, Article 25(1) of the Citizen’s directive (2004/38/EC) which the 2006 regulations transpose into UK legislation outlines that application for any residence documentation cannot be a prerequite for a beneficiary to be granted their rights. This has infact been held binding in UK law in the High Court – in the case of Okuoimose v City Facilities Management (UK) Ltd UKEAT/0192/11/DA – outlining that rights can be established using other means of proof.

As you will see from my FOI request to Worcester City Council, all local authorities rely on your website for guidance. As your information is inaccurate, I would appreciate that you correct the information. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/worc_housing_rights_eea_family

Yours truly,
Wayne Pearsall

Homeless Assistance in the UK

The law in the UK makes it an obligation of your local council to ensure that you have adequate accomodation.  This means that if you are legally homeless then your council must help you.

How much help your local council must give you depends on a number of facts:

  • Are you homeless through no fault of your own?
  • What is your level of need (Any disabilities, dependant children etc?)

You can check out if your council must give you emergency housing on Shelter’s Emergency Housing Rights Checker.

Legally Homeless

Legally Homeless is a term used by local council’s and government.

You may be legally homeless if:

  • you’ve no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere in the world
  • you can’t get into your home – eg your landlord has locked you out
  • it’s not reasonable to stay in your home – eg risk of violence or abuse
  • you’re forced to live apart from your family or people you normally live with because there’s no suitable accommodation for you
  • you’re living in very poor conditions – eg overcrowding

If you’re legally homeless, your council must provide you with help – this could range from giving advice to arranging accommodation for you.

The amount of help they give you will depend on things like:

  • if you became homeless through no fault of your own
  • if you’re eligible for assistance
  • if you’re in priority need

Eligibility for assistance

If you live permanently in the UK, you will usually be eligible for assistance. If you’re from abroad, you may not be eligible because of your immigration status.

Shelter’s emergency housing rights checker helps you work out if you’re eligible for assistance and what you’re entitled to.

Priority need

You’re in priority need if:

  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • ‘dependent children’ live with you (under 16s or under 19s if they’re studying full-time)
  • you’re ‘vulnerable‘, eg as a result of old age or disability
  • you’re homeless after a flood, fire or other disaster

You may be entitled to Housing Benefit to help with your housing costs.  If you are claiming Housing Benefit, ensure that you specifically request the local council to assess you for “Local Council Tax Reduction” as this is an entirely different benefit.

Shelter: The Housing and Homelessness Charity provide excellent advice and help to people.  If you have any further information requirements then do not hesitate to contact them.

Also, an additional piece of legislation may help if you have children:  Section 17 of The Childrens Act 1989 puts a duty of care on the local authority for children living in their area – regardless of their/their parents immigration status.  Section 17(6) specifically stating:

(6) The services provided by a local authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section may include [providing accommodation and] giving assistance in kind or  . . in cash.

 

I am in no way suggesting that people coming home go directly to their local councils.  Please try and ensure that you aren’t going to end up on the streets when you return home to the UK.  However, If you arrange to sleep on a mates sofa, you are still considered as homeless.

How To Apply For a National Insurance Number (NINo)

The local personal reference number in the United Kingdom is called a National Insurance Number (or NINo for short).  A NINO is usually in the format of LLNNNNNNL (where L represents a letter and N a number).

 

A national insurance number is used for pretty much everything from taxation, to applying for a driving licence.  Further information can be viewed here:

 

You can only obtain a NINO if you intend to do one of the following things:

  • Work
  • Become self employed
  • Claim state benefits (IE: Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit ETC)
  • Get a student loan

 

To apply for a National Insurance Number you need to arrange an  ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview for you or send you a postal application. If relevant, they will confirm the date, time and location of your interview and what information/documentation you need to support your application.  The documentation is usually:

  • A visa showing that you have valid leave to remain  (or documents that confirm this – IE: the same kind of documents which would be submitted in support of an EEA2/EEA Family Permit Application).
  • Proof of Identity (Passport, Driving Licence ETC)
  • Proof of Address (Bank Statements, and Utility Bills)

If you have the right to work in the UK (and as an EEA National / Family Member you do), you can telephone Jobcentre Plus on telephone: 0845 600 0643 to arrange to get them to begin the process of issuing a national insurance number. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and are normally less busy before 9am. You can apply for your nino on a postal application.  However this would require sending off a number of documents.

 

If you can’t find your National Insurance Number – but already have one, you can ask HMRC to confirm it by:

  • completing and returning form CA5403 – Your National Insurance number
  • contacting the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on telephone 0300 200 3502 (lines open 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday). You will be asked some questions to confirm your identity. If you can answer these questions correctly HMRC will send  your National Insurance number by post. If you can not answer the questions you will need to complete form CA5403.

HMRC cannot confirm your National Insurance number by telephone. They will write to you instead.

 

Driving on an EU License / Exchanging an EU License for a GB Driving License

You can drive in Great Britain on a full, valid driving licence from another EU country until you’re 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer.

You don’t have to exchange your licence, but follow these steps if you want to:

  • Order form D1 from DVLA.
  • Send the form, the £50 fee and any documents you need to (including your driving licence) to the address on the form.
  • You should get your new licence within 3 weeks.

Please note: You can only drive in Great Britain for 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.

Why would you wish to exchange your driving license?

There are a few reasons that you may wish to exchange your driving license for a UK License.  These might be making getting an International Driving Permit simpler or even getting cheaper car insurance quotes.

Internet Service Providers in the UK

So, like in Ireland, Three UK offer an All You Can Eat data package.  They have a number of quite impressive offers.

The current best offer is the One Plan.  You can currently get a 30 day rolling sim only contract for just £18.00 a month.  This includes the following:

  • 2,000 any network, any time minutes
  • 5,000 Three to Three minutes
  • 5,000 Text (SMS) Messages
  • All you can eat data package

 

I would personally prefer a fixed line – which would give better download speeds (IE: Fibre Broadband from Virgin or BT) but for some people, the waiting time to get internet might just be beneficial to take out a contract which gets you online the *same day*. (No waiting for a telephone line install.  No waiting two weeks for broadband activation.

Much like in Ireland (See: Which Mobile Network Should I use in Ireland) you can use an Android mobile as a WiFi hotspot / router.  There are also cheaper Sim Only 30 day plans (and even cheaper plans if you wish to commit to a lengthy contract).

So: What are download speeds like?  I just did this speed test from my laptop tethered via wifi to my Samsung Galaxy Ace mobile telephone (When I use my S3 to tether it is actually faster due to the improved hardware).

Three UK Broadband Speed Test Internet
Three UK Broadband Speed Test Internet

 

Other Internet Service Providers:

There are many other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the UK.  Obviously you can use pretty much any mobile network data package (but this can get expensive).  Alternatively, you can sign up to an ADSL service such as that offered from The Post Office, Orange (Everything Everywhere), ETC or even get Fibre Optic Broadband from BT/Virgin ETC.

The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2013

The Home Office have released some New EEA regs so as to attempt to curtail The Surinder Singh Route by asking whether the ‘centre of life’ of the EEA National (British Citizen) has relocated to the host member state.

The new amended regulations can be found online:
The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 .

You can read more about this amendment on the following document: EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM TO THE IMMIGRATION (EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA) (AMENDMENT) (No. 2) REGULATIONS 2013.

Regardless of what happens with this amendment to legislation, it is wise to remember: Both The Directive and previous Case Law have not been changed. Only the UK’s interpretation of this. This amendment comes following the release of the clarification from the EC in 2009 (yes, in 2009, it has taken over four years to enact changes… perhaps this is due to a rather recent BBC broadcast).

Need any clarifications about this new instrument? As outlined in the above legislation explaination memorandum:

13.1 Deborah Morrison, European Union Free Movement Policy Team, Home
Office, Tel: 0207 035 0655 or email: [email protected] can
answer any queries regarding the instrument.