complied by Judit Adorjan
No recourse to public funds is a standard condition set out by the Immigration Act (2014) to protect public funds from those staying in the UK with temporary immigration status or unlawfully. The general threshold for permitting migrants to access public funds is once they have obtained indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
In response to the coronavirus outbreak the government has introduced the following temporary concessions to its policy on no recourse to public funds:
- Local authorities may provide basic safety net support, regardless of immigration status, if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution. For example where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question
- Temporarily extended the eligibility criteria for free school meals to support some families with no recourse to public funds
- Access given to statutory sick pay to those with no recourse to public funds
NRPF and Healthcare
- Covid-19 has been added to the list of communicable diseases, meaning that anyone experiencing symptoms regardless of their immigration status will be treated for free. Temporary and unlawful migrants are liable to be charged for some services
- No charges apply to testing for Covid-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for Covid-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed
- NHS staff have also been asked to ensure that patients who are known to be undergoing testing and treatment for Covid-19 only are not subject to Home Office status checks
NRPF and Family and Human Rights routes
- Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the NRPF restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances.
NRPF and Domestic Violence
- The government recognises that NRPF restrictions can make it difficult for migrant victims of domestic abuse to access safe accommodation, particularly when many refuges rely on housing benefit to fund their services
- The Destitution Domestic Violence concession (DDVC) is designed to address this issue for those who have been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK on a partner visa and who therefore have a reasonable expectation of securing indefinite leave to remain. For those who are eligible, the DDVC provides a period of 3 months’ leave outside the immigration rules independent from their sponsor, as well as recourse to public funds to support them to find safe accommodation whilst they apply for indefinite leave to remain under the immigration rules.
- As noted, the DDVC is only available to migrants on a UK partner visa, however the Home Office has announced it is opening a £1.5 million pilot fund to support those with no recourse to public funds in securing safe accommodation. The Home Office will then use this pilot to assess the level of support needed for migrant victims, in order to inform future funding decisions. Separately, as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the Home Office will provide a review of the government’s response to migrant victims of domestic abuse during the report phase of the Bill.
NRPF and Asylum
- As part of the Government’s response to coronavirus, individuals who are provided with asylum accommodation can remain in their current accommodation until the end of June and this will be kept under review.