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Support for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in East Sussex

East Sussex communities have a proud tradition of supporting all people in need, including migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees who arrive in the county.

Our duty of care

East Sussex County Council has a legal duty to protect anyone in the county at risk of harm (whether they are here permanently or not). We must also arrange education for any child living here.

We and our partners have welcomed arrivals from many countries including Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Syria and Ukraine following upheaval and danger at home. Once granted the right to live in the UK, they have the same rights and services as any other citizen.

We recognise that people who settle here from another country contribute hugely to the economy, vitality and culture of our county.

Our welcome – and our duty of care – also includes people temporarily placed in East Sussex by the Home Office while their next steps are determined.

We also recognise that the needs of our existing communities are also crucial and with our partners, will ensure they are addressed.

Thank you to everyone in East Sussex, including many voluntary and community groups and individual host families, who have been able to help welcome people arriving in our county.

See other local and national support available.

Home Office arrangements

The Home Office arranges almost all services, including accommodation, food and basic financial support, for irregular migrants arriving in the UK (those who do not currently have legal rights to remain). Migrants have been placed in hotels across East Sussex and almost all parts of the UK as part of the Home Office’s work to manage cross-Channel small boat traffic.

Arrangements are made directly with hotels and only the Home Office has details of how many people have been placed, or where.

In these cases, services supplied by the partners in East Sussex are very limited but include:

  • safeguarding
  • public health inspection
  • NHS health checks
  • arranging school places for children.

Voluntary organisations also work to support some of the most basic welfare needs of migrants in hotels. This can include offering clothing and footwear to people who may only have the outfit they arrived in.

Possible government facility at Northeye, near Bexhill-on-Sea

The Home Office is considering plans to accommodate some asylum seekers at the Northeye site, a former prison and training centre. Information about these plans is available in the Home Office factsheet:

East Sussex County Council shares residents' concerns about these plans and will continue to ask the government to ensure our communities' concerns are acted on. We have repeatedly asked the Home Office for more public information.

Report a concern

If you have any concerns about the safety of any adult or child in East Sussex, please report it to us.

Sussex Police monitor any community concerns and work to protect everyone in the county. Call 999 if someone is at immediate risk, or make a report online at Sussex Police.