Access to reception centres by third parties

United Kingdom

Country Report: Access to reception centres by third parties Last updated: 24/04/24


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Contract terms between the Home Office and the private companies provide that there shall be access and facilities in initial accommodation for nominated third parties, including NGOs, UNHCR and legal advisers. Advice and guidance on the asylum process, asylum support applications, welfare and life in the UK is delivered free by the charity Migrant Help, funded by the Home Office. Advice is generally available in person at the initial accommodation centres. There is usually access to an initial health screening, often provided by a local enhanced primary care service, homeless health service or a General Practitioner. In at least some regions the obligation to give access to legal advisers is met by an electronic appointments system in the initial accommodation centre. Through this, appointments are made with local solicitors or legal representatives who have the legal aid contract and facilities to be able to offer advice in an office that is close enough to the centre to be accessible for the asylum seeker to find their own way there. In 2023 a charity, Care4Calais, was reportedly banned from attending a reception centre at Napier barracks for encouraging people in there to talk to the media.[1] Reception centres are generally not permitted to have social visitors.[2]



[1] Peter Walker, ‘Home Office barred charity over claims it encouraged asylum seeker ‘complaints’’, The Guardian, 10 November 2023, available at:           

[2] ICIBI, A re-inspection of Napier Barracks, March 2022, paragraph 4.60, 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