The Home Office Recourse to Public Funds (RTPF) Checker has now been integrated with NRPF Connect. A council using NRPF Connect can now instantly ‘look up’ and view a person’s digital immigration status to find out whether a person requesting accommodation and financial support can access public funds (benefits and local authority housing assistance). The RTPF Checker will now help councils to ensure that people who can access public funds can be quickly assisted to access mainstream housing and benefit services. When a family or adult with care needs has no recourse to public funds, the council will need to consider whether it has a duty to provide accommodation and financial support and record this on NRPF Connect in the usual way by creating a new record.
How does the RTPF Checker work?
Councils using NRPF Connect will now see the ‘RTPF Checker’ tab. This can be selected to perform a look-up by inputting specific credentials, such as a passport number. The user will be given the option of creating a new record on NRPF Connect, which is necessary if they are considering whether to provide accommodation and financial support to a household with no recourse to public funds, or need to obtain further immigration status information from the Home Office.
The RTPF Checker can also be accessed on a person’s record that has already created on NRPF Connect. The look-up will be performed in the same way by inputting specific credentials, which may already be recorded on the system.
What happens if the person does not have a digital status?
Only certain groups, including people who have obtained EU Settlement Scheme leave, are currently provided with a digital immigration status. Therefore, in some cases, the RTPF Checker will not display a person’s current leave to remain. Additionally, a person who previously had a digital status may now have a different type of leave, which has been issued as a physical document and will not be displayed on the RTPF Checker. When a person does not have a digital status, the Home Office will continue to perform immigration status checks and provide information to councils using NRPF Connect in the usual way. The Home Office is in the process of rolling out digital status for all applicants.
How are people’s rights protected?
As more groups are provided with a digital immigration status, it is increasingly important for councils to ensure that a person’s right to access benefits or local authority housing assistance is correctly identified when they do not have physical proof of their immigration conditions. When a person has a digital status, the RTPF Checker is a simple way for councils to instantly confirm the person’s immigration status and whether access to public funds has been granted.
Guidance on gov.uk sets out how a person with a digital status can prove their rights and specifies which organisations and government departments can automatically access their immigration status.
What are council officers saying about using the RTPF Checker?
Two online workshops for NRPF Connect users were held in November 2023 to demonstrate the RTPF Checker, and to provide more information about digital status services and the work of the Home Office NRPF Team to prioritise the immigration claims of households supported by councils.
78% of users who had already accessed the RTPF Checker said it was easy to use and responded positively to being able to get immediate confirmation of digital status. NRPF Connect users attending the workshops were overwhelmingly of the opinion that the RTPF checker would be useful for their work and practice.