Domestic Abuse: immigration and nationality legal aid

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 17th June 2020.

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New clause 36—Recourse to public funds for domestic abuse survivors—

“(1) The Immigration Acts are amended as follows.

(2) In section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 after subsection (10) insert—

“(11) This section does not apply to a person who is a victim of domestic abuse in the United Kingdom.”

(3) In paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

“(ca) to a person who is a victim of domestic abuse in the United Kingdom, or”

(4) In section 21 of the Immigration Act 2014 at the end of subsection (3) insert “or if P is a victim of domestic abuse”.

(5) In section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971 after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) The Secretary of State may not make or maintain a condition under subsection (1)(c)(ii) on leave granted to a victim of domestic abuse in the United Kingdom; and it is not a breach of the immigration laws or rules for such a victim to have recourse to public funds.”

(6) For the purposes of this section, evidence that domestic abuse has occurred may consist of one or more of the following—

(a) a relevant conviction, police caution or protection notice;

(b) a relevant court order (including without notice, ex parte, interim or final orders), including a non-molestation undertaking or order, occupation order, domestic abuse protection order, forced marriage protection order or other protective injunction;

(c) evidence of relevant criminal proceedings for an offence concerning domestic violence or a police report confirming attendance at an incident resulting from domestic abuse;

(d) evidence that a victim has been referred to a multi-agency risk assessment conference;

(e) a finding of fact in the family courts of domestic abuse;

(f) a medical report from a doctor at a UK hospital confirming injuries or a condition consistent with being a victim of domestic abuse;

(g) a letter from a General Medical Council registered general practitioner confirming that he or she is satisfied on the basis of an examination that a person had injuries or a condition consistent with those of a victim of domestic abuse;

(h) an undertaking given to a court by the alleged perpetrator of domestic abuse that he or she will not approach the applicant who is the victim of the abuse;

(i) a letter from a social services department confirming its involvement in providing services to a person in respect of allegations of domestic abuse;

(j) a letter of support or a report from a domestic abuse support organisation; or

(k) other evidence of domestic abuse, including from a counsellor, midwife, school, witness or the victim.

(7) For the purposes of this section—

“domestic abuse” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2020;

“victim” includes the dependent child of a person who is a victim of domestic abuse.”

This new clause seeks to ensure that certain provisions under the Immigration Acts – including exclusion from public funds, certain types of support and assistance and the right to rent – do not apply to survivors of domestic abuse.