Immigrants: Sleeping Rough

Home Office written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Apsana Begum Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the recent changes to Immigration Rules that make rough sleeping grounds for deportation on people seeking a change of conditions from No Recourse to Public Funds; and if she will make a statement on this.

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

The Immigration Rule making provision for the discretionary refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the grounds of rough sleeping came into force on 1 December 2020. It will be used sparingly and only as a last resort where a person sleeping rough refuses offers of support and engages in persistent anti-social behaviour.

A person is expected to leave the UK if their leave is cancelled or refused. If they do not choose to leave voluntarily the Home Office may enforce their removal. They will not be subject to deportation action which is reserved for foreign national offenders with serious and persistent criminality as well as for reasons of national security.

The Home Office does not hold data on the number of people rough sleeping in the UK who are subject to no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

The Government remains committed to protecting vulnerable people and has acted decisively to ensure that we support everyone through this pandemic. Many of the wide-ranging COVID-19 measures the Government has put in place, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have been made available to migrants with NRPF. We have published guidance and support for migrants affected by COVID-19 at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk.

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply, for free, to have their NRPF condition lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if they are destitute or at risk of destitution, if the welfare of their child is at risk due to their low income, or where there are other exceptional financial circumstances.

Change of conditions decisions are being prioritised and are being dealt with compassionately. This approach is working. Data published in November 2020 shows that 85% of change of condition applications are granted and the average time taken to make a decision is now just 17 days, down from 45 days in the previous quarter.

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