This briefing summarises who is subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) visa condition and how it is applied. It also identifies what state support and concessions might be available for migrants with NRPF during the coronavirus crisis. It does not cover migrants’ entitlements to NHS healthcare, or the position of European Economic Area nationals.
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What is ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF)?
Most non-EEA national migrants with temporary permission to remain in the UK have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF). This visa condition prevents them from accessing most state-funded benefits, tax credits and housing assistance.
Separate provisions in immigration legislation also exclude ‘people subject to immigration control’ from eligibility for certain welfare benefits, with very limited exceptions.
This briefing describes all these groups as being subject to ‘NRPF’ conditions.
NRPF restrictions apply to a diverse range of people, including sponsored skilled workers; family members of British citizens; self-employed people; investors and entrepreneurs; asylum seekers; and undocumented migrants.
Coronavirus and NRPF: What are the concerns?
The IPPR thinktank warns that the Covid-19 pandemic could have particularly severe financial and health consequences for migrant households. It highlights that migrants are more likely to be working in industries affected by the crisis, be in temporary work and self-employed, and to live in private rented and overcrowded accommodation.
A broad range of Parliamentarians and external stakeholders want the Government to suspend NRPF conditions in response to the pandemic.
They have warned, for example, that without other sources of financial support, some temporary migrants with NRPF may feel compelled to continue working. This would risk exposing themselves and others to coronavirus. There are also concerns about some migrants’ access to appropriate healthcare and accommodation during the crisis.
What state-funded support is available to NRPF migrants during the pandemic?
The Government hasn’t announced a blanket policy to change NRPF restrictions.
Some of the measures it has introduced to support individuals suffering financial loss are open to people with NRPF. In particular:
- Temporary migrants with NRPF are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
- “New Style” Jobseekers Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay, and “New Style” Employment Support Allowance do not count as public funds.
Some other policy concessions will apply to some people with NRPF:
- People who are facing extreme hardship and who have been granted leave to remain on family/private life grounds might be eligible to have their NRPF condition removed, due to a pre-existing “change of conditions” policy.
- Asylum seekers will continue to be eligible for Home Office accommodation and financial support after their claims have been decided, as a temporary concession.
- Local authorities have been asked to provide accommodation to all rough sleepers and vulnerable homeless people, including migrants with NRPF.
A separate Library briefing Coronavirus: Support for household finances details a wider range of measures, some of which may also be relevant to migrants with NRPF status.
There is also a page on the GOV.UK website, Coronavirus (COVID-19): get support if you’re a migrant with temporary leave (published 23 April 2020), which signposts readers to information about various measures potentially relevant to people with NRPF. Some of those are beyond the focus of this briefing, such as eligibility for healthcare for treatment related to Covid-19, and support for renters, landlords and mortgage holders.
Announcements and developments related to coronavirus are occurring on a daily basis. This briefing should be read as accurate on the date of publication. Check the GOV.UK website on a regular basis for up to date information.