Immigrants: Finance

Home Office written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions), Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on migrants in the UK who have no recourse to public funds.

Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions), Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to suspend the no recourse to public funds condition during the covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the NRPF restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances. The Home Office has recently digitised the application form to make sure it is accessible for those who need to remain at home, and I can assure you that the applications are being dealt with swiftly and compassionately.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the government has put in place are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). We therefore do not believe it is necessary to suspend the NRPF condition.

The Coronavirus job retention scheme, self-employment income support and statutory sick pay are not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Contribution-based benefits are also not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Additionally, measures we have brought forward such as rent and mortgage protections are not considered public funds and can be accessed by migrants with leave to remain.

Local authorities may also provide basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

The Government has made in excess of £3.2bn of funding available to local authorities in England to assist them in managing the pressures arising out of the pandemic.

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