Freedom of movement

United Kingdom

Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 30/11/20


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Movement is not restricted to defined areas, but temporary admission or bail, which is the usual status of asylum seekers, is usually conditional on residence at a particular address, and there is a requirement to keep the Home Office informed of any change of address.

Asylum seekers accommodated by the Home Office are not permitted to stay away from their accommodation, and the Home Office will cease providing accommodation in practice if an asylum seeker stays elsewhere for more than a few days.

Allocation to accommodation is done by the private company which manages property in the relevant region on the basis of the availability of housing. The initial allocation to a region and to an initial accommodation centre is arranged after the screening interview. The availability of housing in a region depends on procurement by the private company, which is affected by local housing markets, and local authority policy. Problems identified when the new contracts began in 2019 have been discussed and reported upon, including by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2019.

The limits on asylum seekers’ choice of location have been described in the section on Criteria and Restrictions to Access Reception Conditions. There is no appeal against the location allocated.

Asylum seekers live among the rest of the population and have no restrictions on their freedom of movement except that imposed by lack of resources and the requirement to stay at the allocated address. That they stay at the address is monitored by routine visits by the housing providers, and by the requirement to report regularly (anything from twice weekly to every six months) at a regional Home Office reporting centre.[1]

[1] A list of Home Office reporting centres is available at:


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection