No recourse to public funds – support available to people with dependants

No recourse to public funds – support available to people with dependants

No recourse to public funds - people with dependants

Free Legal Advice Centre Volunteer, Laura S M Humayun explains what having no recourse to public funds means and what is support is available.

What does no recourse to public funds mean?

Generally, reference to public funds refers to state benefits, tax credits or housing support from the government. Someone with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) cannot access these because of their immigration status. This includes individuals in the UK on: spouse visas, student visas and those with limited leave to remain granted under family or private life rules.

I felt like no one could hear my voice and no one was out there to listen to me”

A previous client at Toynbee Hall explained how the NRPF condition impacted her. She was initially disappointed at how little help she could access. The need to provide for herself and her family without benefits or further government aid was challenging. The client recalls how she kept finding herself in a difficult position, unable to provide for many basic necessities. Whenever she turned for help, she was rejected. The NRPF condition impacted all aspects of her life. She expressed that many other families can be stuck in a similar position which has a negative effect on the children.

Lockdown and COVID-19:

During this pandemic, those with NRPF cannot access some of the benefits or other support offered by the government. Some of the difficulties faced by those with NRPF include the inability to purchase fresh food or secure suitable accommodation. This means some are unable to fend for themselves and have to rely on others for help. As a result, this can have significant negative impact on their mental health and bring other challenges.

Support available

Social service support is not considered to fall into the public funds category. Local authorities have duties towards their residents. They have a duty to:

– Assist families with a child in need
– Assist young people (care leavers)
– Assist adults with care needs.

This can include providing accommodation and financial support to homeless families or those at risk of homelessness

The government has asked local councils to provide support for families with NRPF requiring shelter or financial assistance during this pandemic.

Help from local authorities and social servicesFor those with NRPF and dependant children, this is available when: parents do not have sufficient income and/or their living conditions do not meet the children’s needs. Support from social services and local authorities for children and public health reasons will not count as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes. Please check with your local authority to see what you can access for your family. See your local council’s contact details here.  
Free school mealsThe government has extended free school meals for some children with NRPF. You must meet certain criteria.   Please check if your child is eligible here. Further guidance is available on NRPF Network

Toynbee Hall’s Free Legal Advice Centre offers legal advice for those with no recourse to public funds. We will be providing remote advice through telephone and video conferencing where possible. Interpreters can be arranged if requested. On the first and third Saturday of every month, women can seek advice from our female advisors.

Please note: These services are appointment only so please contact us.


Further resources:

NRPF Network Factsheet

(support available during COVID-19)


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