Home Office written question – answered on 14th December 2021.

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Photo of Gill Furniss Gill Furniss Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to prevent poverty among those with No Recourse to Public Funds.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Those with temporary migration status are generally required to demonstrate their ability to support themselves and any accompanying family members, including children, in the UK without recourse to public funds as part of their immigration application. This is a well-established principle which protects taxpayer-funded public services from becoming overburdened.

There are, nonetheless, strong and important safeguards in place to ensure migrants receive support where they are destitute, at risk of destitution, or have community care needs, including issues relating to human rights or the wellbeing of children.

Migrants with leave under the family and human rights routes, and those who have been granted leave on the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa route as a British National (Overseas) status holder or a family member of a British National (Overseas) status holder can apply, for free, to have their NRPF condition lifted by making a ‘change of condition’ 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.

Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 imposes a general duty on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of “children in need” in their area. Support provided to a child by local authorities under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 is not dependent on the immigration status of the child or their parent(s).

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

Migrants who have made the necessary national insurance contributions can also claim contributory benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance and a state pension, which are not subject to residence conditions.

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