FAQs

Refugee learners

FAQs

How do refugees get a home?

A growing number of refugees in the UK are finding themselves homeless soon after they are granted asylum. Once refugee status is granted, they have 28 days to move out of secure housing — barely enough time to find work and rental accommodation. 

The ACH refugee housing program is designed to find homes for refugees living in Britain who are homeless and vulnerable. We work with landlords who are concerned about the social impact of their investment to secure long-term leases. Our supported accommodation is based in Bristol, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. 

Are refugees allowed to work in the UK?

Once granted official refugee status, refugees have permission to work in the UK in any profession, at any skill level. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, aren’t allowed to work. Many refugees struggle to find employment due to language barriers and underlying discrimination. Our training courses and employment programs are designed to help refugees and people from BAME communities develop their skills and find stable jobs.   

What companies hire refugees?

There are many good reasons for UK employers to hire refugees. ACH works in partnership with First West of England and Starbucks to support refugees into driver and barista roles, with courses covering interview skills, customer service, and health and safety. We also have employment partnerships with a number of businesses in Bristol and the West Midlands who employ property maintenance operatives.

Can refugees vote in the UK?

No — most asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in the UK are excluded from the democratic process. To vote in a UK General Election you must be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen with a residential address in the UK. Refugees in the UK generally get a residence permit for five years, after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Refugees can apply for citizenship with ILR after a further 12 months.

Find out more about refugee and asylum policy in the UK.

How long does it take for a refugee to get a work permit?

Those who claim asylum in the UK are not normally allowed to work while their claim is being considered. Those who are allowed to work are restricted to jobs on the shortage occupation list published by the Home Office. Asylum seekers are often encouraged to volunteer whilst their claim is being considered. 

Once refugee status is granted, you have permission to work in the UK, apply for welfare benefits and open a bank account. You’ll get your National Insurance (NI) number through the post just after you get refugee status. Find out more at citizensadvice.org.uk

How to get a job working with refugees

ACH is a growing business and we're often looking for talent to join our teams in Bristol and the West Midlands. If you’re looking for a rewarding career helping refugees in the UK, check out our vacancies and volunteer roles

How do refugees find their first job?

Our mission is to equip refugees with the skills they need to gain sustainable employment in the UK, delivering employability programs for local businesses and national corporations. Our training programs assess each learner individually to make sure they are put on the correct career path. We offer free careers advice to our tenants and the wider community, as well as regular job club sessions, supporting job-seekers with CV writing, applying for jobs and interview skills.

Where do refugees live in the UK?

It’s true that some parts of the UK have taken more refugees than others. Relative to their populations, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England are home to considerably more refugees than the South, due in part to the cost of housing.

ACH provides accommodation support in Bristol, Birmingham and Wolverhampton to over 700 individuals each year. Providing a roof over somebody’s head is a vital first step in their journey away from homelessness and into independent living. We have also been working with Bristol City Council to bring about the Empty Homes Project, an innovative solution to housing refugees in the city.

Are there free courses for refugees?

In 2014, Himilo was set up as a training subsidiary to ACH to deliver short, vocational training courses in Bristol and the West Midlands. These courses are not just for our refugee tenants; they are available to the wider community. Thanks to a government drive to get everyone up to a certain level of Maths and English, our Level 2 course is free to those on benefits or low wages. All of our courses are listed here, delivered at our four training centres. 

ACH has also partnered with CodeDoor, a company providing scholarships in coding to refugees, migrants and women. The entire range of courses is available online and no prior experience of coding is required.

What are the benefits of hiring refugees?

Employing refugees brings a number of benefits that we’ve covered in depth. Refugees make motivated, loyal staff who bring language skills, increase staff retention, and improve diversity. It’s not as difficult as you might think to be part of the #rethinkingrefugee movement.

How to rent to refugees 

Are you a landlord looking to make a social impact? ACH provides accommodation for refugees and vulnerable individuals who are looking to rent houses on long-term leases. We offer competitive rent (guaranteed) and a full property management service with no management fee and no set-up cost. Get in touch with one of our housing managers to find out more. 

How can I help refugees?

There are many practical and meaningful ways to help refugees in the UK: