People who are granted leave to remain on the basis of their family or private life in the UK will have the 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF) condition imposed unless they can demonstrate that they would be destitute or at imminent risk of destitution without access to benefits or housing assistance.
A person who has leave to remain that is subject to the NRPF condition has permission to work but will be unable to claim most benefits, including universal credit, tax credits and child benefit. Their children may not qualify for some government funded childcare schemes. In some instances, councils may be required to provide accommodation and financial support to families or adults with care needs when social services’ duties are engaged. Imposing the NRPF condition, the use of the 10-year settlement route (requiring applications for leave to remain to be made every 2.5 years at a cost of £2033 per person), and the lack of legal aid for immigration matters, are all policies that can cause destitution and homelessness, and impede the integration of children and adults whose future is in the UK.
The change of conditions process allows for people with leave to remain granted on family or private life routes to apply to the Home Office to have the condition removed if they can provide sufficient evidence that they are destitute or at imminent risk of destitution. However, this does not apply to all categories of leave to remain, it forces people onto the insecure 10-year settlement route when they were not already on this, and may not be easily accessed when a person is unable to get free legal advice.
The economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have affected people with NRPF who have other types of leave to remain, including international students and people who have Tier 1 or Tier 2 work visas. All are unable to rely on the benefit safety-net following a loss of income.
Recommendations for the Government:
Since 2014, have been working with the Home Office at an operational and policy level to ensure that people being supported by councils do not have the NRPF condition imposed when they are granted leave to remain.
We have also worked with the Children’s Society to raise the political profile of this issue by holding a roundtable in Parliament in 2017. We have subsequently submitted evidence various inquiries and consultations.
In 2018 the All Party Parliamentary Group for ending homelessness recommended that the NRPF condition is not imposed on people with children under 18 and some other groups. Calls have been made for a wider, but temporary, suspension during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All Party Parliamentary Group for ending homelessness: