Increase in numbers applying to have No Recourse to Public Funds condition lifted

By agency reporter
August 5, 2020

The Home Office has released No Recourse to Public Funds Change of Conditions application data, following correspondence from the Office for Statistics Regulation. The data shows the numbers of applications made by people who are on the 10 year route to settled status in the UK and normally have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), but are now seeking to be able to access Universal Credit and other benefits because they are destitute or homeless.

The data reveals there was a stark increase in applications to have the NRPF condition lifted from those facing destitution: 5665 applications were made during the Covid pandemic (April to June 2020). A 572 per cent increase from the prior quarter (843 applications) and more than the total of the previous 18 months.

Commenting on the figures, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society Sam Royston said: “Today’s figures show an alarming but small part of the picture of the very perilous situation individuals and families subject to the NRPF condition find themselves in. Many thousands more families are facing destitution, as lockdown has taken hold and people have lost jobs or hours at work. 

“We are deeply concerned that this situation is only going to get worse as the furlough scheme ends this autumn and redundancies and a potential second wave loom. 

“These figures don’t tell us how many people are under NRPF conditions, or in particular how many children, though we estimate is that there are at least 100,000 children who are affected. We’re also concerned that it is taking 30 days for people to find out if they are allowed to apply for Universal Credit, and if they are accepted they face another five week wait before Universal Credit would be paid. 

“What’s more, if people currently on the five year track to settled status in the UK – who will have met the stringent financial criteria when they first applied – lose their job and need to apply to have their NRPF condition lifted temporarily, it will mean they are put on the 10 year track for settlement.  As a result of them losing their job in a pandemic, they and their children will be punished with five more years of exorbitant immigration fees and NHS surcharge payments and no guarantee that the NRPF condition won’t be reapplied to them again before they secure settled status. 

“The government must suspend NRPF to ensure that people in crisis can quickly apply for the financial help they need. In the meantime, while the temporary extension of Free School Meals to children in families with NRPF has been welcome, families have no certainty as to when this might be taken away. The government should commit to maintaining the meals indefinitely.” 

* The Home Office data is available here

* The Children's Society https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

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