Directors of the 12 newly formed regional consortiums of local authorities have been sent a circular about the plans by the Local Government Association, which will come into effect next month.
The home office is asking each consortium, including Northern Ireland, the west Country and Wales, to take 4-6,000 asylum seekers each during the next 18 months.
Consortia will be expected to house asylum seekers in empty council and housing association homes, and private rented accommodation.
Meanwhile Tony Blair and Mr Straw are joining with Germany and France in pressing the EU to introduce stricter immigration controls. This could include a single EU visa policy, stricter policing of border controls and increased deportation of illegal immigrants.
The matter will be raised at an EU justice and home affairs summit in Finland next weekend.