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A positive decision

Middlesbrough is part of the NE Rise project, in partnership with Open Door North East. They offer help with housing, integration, and employment. You can get help by going to the Open Door North East website.

A 'move on' service is available from Migrant Help and Reed in Partnership once you get a positive decision on your asylum application. They will contact you directly.

When you get a positive decision and have received your biometric residency permit (BRP), you will have 28 days to leave your Mears accommodation. Mears will contact you about this, and you should also get a telephone call from Migrant Help asking if you need support during the 'move on' period. This means it's very important that you keep your contact details up to date with your Mears housing manager.

Other things you will need to think about are:

Opening a bank account


Opening a bank account as a refugee can be quite difficult because most banks will ask you for documents to prove your address, which you will not have yet.

Monzo is an online bank, and it is very easy to open an account. If you own an iPhone or Android phone, you can open a bank account using Monzo. To open an account, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Monzo app
  2. Sign up with your email address
  3. Take a picture of the front and back of the BRP as the app asks you to do
  4. Take a video of yourself confirming who you are as the app asks you to do
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen

It usually only takes about five minutes to approve your application. Then you can return to your app and click on 'account' to see your account number and sort code at the top of the screen.

Don’t forget to activate your card once it arrives. It usually only takes a few days.

To claim Universal Credit (benefits), you must have a bank account.

Once you are getting benefits and you have found a house where you are paying bills, you will be able to go to a different bank if you want to.

There is also a community bank called South Tees Community Bank in Middlesbrough. You can open a savings account with the community bank with just £1 a week. You can also use the community bank to get a loan, whether you have a job or not. If you can not get a loan from a bank, you should use a community bank. They do not add lots of extra charges on to the amount of money you pay back to them, unlike some other companies. You can look at the South Tees Community Bank website to find out more.

Disclaimer: In our professional experience, Monzo has proven to be a viable solution for opening a bank account, for those who lack the necessary address verification documents to use other banks. Middlesbrough Council does not endorse Monzo or receive any incentive to mention it here. Other banking providers are available.

Claiming benefits and Universal Credit


The main benefit you can claim is called Universal Credit (UC). You can apply online for Universal Credit.

You may have received a phone call from Migrant Help or Reed in Partnership. They can help arrange an appointment for you at Jobcentre Plus. Your case worker at Open Door North East can also support you with this, as well as applying for Child Benefit if you have children.

The Help to Claim Line can also help you with your benefit application. You can contact them on 0800 144 8444 and they can arrange for a translator.

Alternatively, you can make an appointment with Sue at Open Door by phoning 01642 213 634. Sue can also help you with child benefits.

If you have any disabilities, you should speak to the Welfare Rights team to make sure you are getting all the benefits you're entitled to. You can contact them by emailing welfarerights@middlesbrough.gov.uk.



Newly-granted asylum seekers are considered at risk of homelessness. Once you’ve had a positive decision on your asylum application, you may be contacted by the Housing Solutions team, who can help you apply for a house straight away.

All homelessness applications are currently being done by phone. You can get in touch with the Housing Solutions team by calling 01642 726800 or on the help with homelessness page.

Different types of landlords

  • Social housing, which is available through landlords like Thirteen and Tees Valley Homefinder
  • Private housing, where you may have to pay a deposit up front, as well as an administration fee
  • Open Door North East, a local charity

Tenant rights and responsibilities

Generally, as a tenant you must do things like:

  • pay your rent on time (rent is usually paid in advance, weekly or monthly)
  • pay your bills for gas, water, and electricity on time
  • take care of the property you are staying in

Landlord rights and responsibilities

A landlord must:

  • give you a rent book/receipt which confirms how much rent you have paid
  • give you a written Statement of Tenancy Terms within 28 days of the start of the tenancy
  • give you warning if they want you to leave the property
  • look after any gas and electrical appliances which come with the house, for example the fridge, radiators, etc.
  • give you privacy

The duties of a landlord (and your rights as a tenant) can vary, depending on the type of tenancy you have.

The types of tenancy can be complicated, so it is important you know what kind you have, and what is expected of you before you sign up. Find out about the different kinds of tenancy.

If a landlord wants money from you in advance ('a deposit'), they must use an approved tenancy deposit scheme. This makes sure tenants get their deposit back at the end of the tenancy. You should check to make sure that the landlord is using this scheme.

You can find out more about protecting your deposit on the government's website.

Living in a shared house

If you live in a house with 4 or more people who are not related to you, and you share a kitchen, bathroom or lounge with them, then you live in a 'house in multiple occupation' (HMO). Your landlord must have a licence for the HMO.


If you are at immediate risk of becoming homeless, Middlesbrough Council's Housing Solutions team can find temporary emergency accommodation for you. Once a suitable property becomes available, they may offer it to you as a 'final offer'. If you refuse that property, your emergency accommodation arrangements may be ended.

Where can I get furniture?

Help is available to make sure you have furniture and other things for inside your house. This includes:

Utilities and other bills

'Utilities' are the things you need to keep your home running, like energy (gas and electricity) and water.

Once you have found a property, you should get in touch with Middlesbrough Environment City. They can help you to make sure that you have the most affordable energy provider, and that you use your energy properly.

If you experience fuel poverty, you can contact Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND for further help. Fuel poverty means you can't afford to pay your energy bills, so you can't keep your house warm.

If you want to watch television in your house, you must also apply and pay for a television license.

Council Tax

Your Council Tax is a very important bill. If you do not pay your Council Tax, you could be taken to court.

How much Council Tax you have to pay depends on how much your property is worth. This is called the Council Tax 'band'. You can find out what your Council Tax band is by looking up your postcode. It will be a letter between A and H. Once you know your band, you can find out how much your Council Tax will cost.

You might be able to apply to reduce the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. Stronger Communities Middlesbrough can help you with this - email scm@middlesbrough.gov.uk.



Learning English

We think it is very important that you learn to speak English because it will be much easier for you to feel at home. There are lots of opportunities for you to learn English:

If you have been in the UK for 6 months or more, you can also go to Middlesbrough College or Middlesbrough Community Learning Service (MCLS). Please contact them directly to find out about courses. If you do a course with MCLS, you will get a certificate at the end. If you are a refugee, the Department for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus) will probably also send you here.

Ethnic Minority Achievement Team (EMAT)

In the UK, children aged between 5 and 16 must go to school. It does not cost money to send your child to school. Contact the Ethnic Minority Achievement Team (EMAT) to make sure your child gets a school place.

If you do have children who go to school, they might be able to get free lunches from the school. This is called 'free school meals'. You can fill in a form to get free school meals, or the EMAT team can help you. Some children can also get help with transport between your home and school.

You can look at a map of all schools in Middlesbrough to find one close to your home. Places at schools are limited, so there might not be a place available for your child at your nearest school. You can speak to the EMAT team to find out more about school places.

College and university

Middlesbrough College has regular open days. You can go along and find out about the different courses they have.

If you want to go to university, you may be able to go to Teesside University, which is in Middlesbrough. They have lots of courses, and also have regular open days where you can get more information.



The NHS (National Health Service) is responsible for most of the health services in the UK. Most treatments are free, but you may have to pay for a few things. Find out which things you will have to pay for.

If you are an asylum seeker, Mears should have given you a leaflet which explains the charges for the NHS.

If you are an asylum seeker, you can get treatment without needing to pay for it, while the Home Office is considering your claim or your appeal. To get free treatment and free medicine, you need to complete the HC2 form. You can get a copy of the form from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) or from a pharmacy.

There is also a lot of mental health support available for people in Middlesbrough. Talk to your doctor if you think you need help.

The Live Well Centre has lots of health support groups available that you can join to get support.


If you are pregnant, you may be able to get some help towards supporting your first child. If you are an asylum seeker, Migrant Help can help you apply for a £300 maternity grant. If you are a refugee, Jobcentre Plus can help you to apply for a £500 Sure Start maternity grant. Both of these grants are available when you are 32 weeks pregnant.

Emergency and non-emergency health help

For life-threatening injuries or conditions, you should go to the nearest hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. Find out when you should go to A&E, and find your nearest A&E.

You should go to the doctor if you have a fever, sprain, joint problems, or if you're worried about your mental health. You must contact the doctor's surgery to book an appointment. You cannot see a doctor without an appointment.

You can ring 111 if you're worried about a medical problem and want to get advice. You can also get help from NHS 111 online.

You should go to a pharmacy and talk to a pharmacist for things like headaches, sickness, cuts, and bruises.



Middlesbrough is a great place to live and work. There are lots of opportunities available to help you into work.

A good place to look for work is through the Jobcentre website.

The Employment Engagement Group meets regularly to look at ways to help people into jobs. There are also lots of employment groups working together to help refugees into work. This is a project offered by the North East Migration Partnership.