Living in the UK

If you haven’t already been given one, your first appointment will be to apply for your Biometric Residency Permit. This is an ID card which shows that you have the right to be in the UK. It also shows that you have the right to work in the UK. When you apply for your card you will have your picture taken and your fingerprints scanned. You will also need to give a signature sample. Your Biometric Card is a very important document and needs to be kept safe. For more information see the gov.uk website: www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits

Your rights

You have full humanitarian status which means that you have the right to work, to education, to healthcare and to receive benefits. The same as anybody living in the UK.

You have leave to remain in the UK for 3-5 years or indefinite (check your visa).  If your visa has an end date,  you must apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) to stay in the country or return to your home country. After that you can apply for citizenship.

Under your refugee status you can apply for a travel document so that you can visit countries outside of the UK – this will require payment. You will have to apply for a visa before travelling to most countries outside the UK.

You cannot travel to your home country, even with a travel document, as you have been moved from there under a resettlement scheme, or been given refugee status. 

For more information about travel and family reunion we can give  you details of a Brighton-based charity  who can give you advice. You can also find helpful advice by visiting: www.ach.org.uk/news-and-features/refugee-rights-uk-know-facts

Your responsibilities

These are no different from any citizen of the UK:

You will be responsible for paying utility bills: Gas, Electric, Water in and Waste Water. 

You must pay rent using your Universal Credit money 

We will help you to make a budget plan and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have enough money in your bank account to pay your bills. 

If you have a television you will need a TV license before you watch it.

You will also be responsible for other bills e.g. premium TV, Wi-Fi and mobile telephones

You must look for work unless you are training or in education

If you have children you must make sure they attend school.

You must live within the law of the land.

People

Men and women are considered equal in the UK. Women are independent and welcome to enter public places alone. Men and women socialise freely.

Each person is treated as an individual, man or woman, and each speaks his / her own opinion. No one needs to represent another or speak on their behalf in everyday life or in front of the law.

British people are generally friendly, but can take a while to develop close friendships. They are tolerant and willing to offer help when it is needed, so please do not be afraid to ask.

British people are usually polite. It is common to say ‘excuse me’ if you need to pass in front of someone, ‘please’ when you ask for something, ‘pardon’ when you don’t understand or don’t hear and ‘thank you’ when you receive something from another person. 

When waiting for something (like boarding a train or to be served in a shop) British people form a queue. If you decide to ignore the queue you might cause offence.

British people are usually punctual. If your appointment is at 11 am this means you should be at the appointed place ready for 11 am. You could be considered rude if you are late and you might lose your appointment.

Some people, particularly women, consider it rude and feel uncomfortable if they are stared at by people they do not know.  However, it is not considered disrespectful to look at men and women when they are talking to you.

Being a good neighbour

The English climate tends to keep people indoors for a lot of the year and therefore everyone takes seriously the responsibility to be a good neighbour.  

Try to build relationships with those living close by and greet your neighbours.  

To integrate, try not to be noisy, especially at night from 9 pm to 8 am.  Avoid having late night social gatherings in houses, which can be noisy.

If you have a garden it is important to keep it looking tidy.

If there are communal areas do not leave things lying around where they might upset or inconvenience your neighbours.

Advice for Refugees and understanding life in the UK

Migrant Help

Advice and support for migrants in the UK 

www.migranthelpuk.org 

08088010503

Citizens Advice 

Free, independent confidential and impartial advice on your rights and responsibilities 

www.citizensadvice.org.uk 

0344111444

Gov.uk 

The UK government website, where you can find details of topics such as benefits, taxes, your rights and responsibilities  

www.gov.uk

A really useful guide for new refugees in English and lots of different languages:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/welcome-a-guide-for-new-refugees

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