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Who has recourse to public funds?

A person who has recourse to public funds will be able to access benefits and housing assistance if they meet the relevant qualifying requirements.

A person will have recourse to public funds when they have one of the following types of immigration status:

  • Indefinite leave to enter or remain (unless they are granted this as an adult dependent relative)
  • Right of abode
  • Exempt from immigration control
  • Refugee status
  • Humanitarian protection 
  • Leave to remain granted under the family or private life rules where they are accepted by the Home Office as being destitute or at risk of imminent destitution
  • Discretionary leave to remain, for example:
    • Leave to remain granted to a person who has received a conclusive grounds decision that they are a victim of trafficking or modern day slavery
    • Destitution domestic violence concession
    • Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) leave

There may be some instances when a person does not have a document to confirm their immigration status. A person in this position should not automatically be refused a service without further investigation into their circumstances to ensure that they are not wrongly denied a service they may be entitled to. 

Immigration terms

Adult dependent relative

Adult relative of a person in the UK who is a British citizen, has settled status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection, and who requires long-term personal care,  as a result of age, illness or disability, which is unavailable or cannot be provided by anyone in their country of origin.

Exempt from immigration control

Not being required to apply for immigration permission to enter the UK, for example, when in diplomatic service.

Humanitarian protection

Granted when a person is recognised as having a real risk of serious harm or well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin, but not for any reason set out under the UN Refugee Convention 1951, usually following an asylum application.

Indefinite leave to enter or remain

Immigration permission with no time limit on the length of stay in the UK.

Leave to remain

Immigration permission issued to a person in the UK, usually after a person has made an application to Home Office.  

Refugee status

Granted to a person who is recognised as having a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion under the UN Refugee Convention 1951, usually following an asylum application.