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Numbers applying to have No Recourse to Public Funds condition lifted rise by over 500 per cent during pandemic

The Children’s Society calls for suspension of NRPF

Between April and June 2020, 5,665 applications were made to have the 'no recourse to public funding' (NRPF) restriction lifted on the basis of a 'change of conditions' in the applicants' financial circumstances. The figures are set out in an information release by the Home Office. 

NRPF is a standard condition applied to those in the UK with a temporary immigration status in order to protect public funds. Most migrants visiting, studying, working or joining family in the UK are subject to an NRPF condition until they have obtained indefinite leave to remain. Migrants here without leave are also subject to NRPF, by virtue of their being in the UK without status.

Figures for the quarter show an increase of 572 per cent in applications during the Covid-19 lockdown. In the previous quarter there had been 843 applications. This increase was particularly marked in the latter part of April and early May, peaking at 1,292 applications in the week ending 3 May 2020 although numbers have fallen in subsequent weeks and by the end of June the four-weekly average was around 380.

Commenting on the figures, Director of Policy and Research at The Children's Society, Sam Royston, said:

"[These] figures show an alarming but small part of the picture of the very perilous situation individuals and families subject to the NRPF condition find themselves in. Many thousands more families are facing destitution, as lockdown has taken hold and people have lost jobs or hours at work.

"We are deeply concerned that this situation is only going to get worse as the furlough scheme ends this autumn and redundancies and a potential second wave loom.

"These figures don't tell us how many people are under NRPF conditions, or in particular how many children, though we estimate that there are at least 100,000 children who are affected. We're also concerned that it is taking 30 days for people to find out if they are allowed to apply for Universal Credit, and if they are accepted they face another five week wait before Universal Credit would be paid.

"The government must suspend NRPF to ensure that people in crisis can quickly apply for the financial help they need. In the meantime, while the temporary extension of Free School Meals to children in families with NRPF has been welcome, families have no certainty as to when this might be taken away. The government should commit to maintaining the meals indefinitely."

For the latest figures, click here.