The UK Government’s ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy* (NRPF) is a serious breach of a number of economic, social, and cultural rights, notably the right to social security and can leave individuals and families destitute.
This was the main message in evidence we recently submitted with Project 17 to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty. The submission was in response to a call from the Special Rapporteur in advance of his thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council “Social protection: a reality check.” We highlighted that the NRPF policy disproportionately impacts already disadvantaged groups including women, children, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and disabled people.
We provided evidence that while some limited mitigations exist, they are unevenly applied and can be complex to the point of being inaccessible in practice.
We also cautioned that current events, such as the pandemic and the Nationality and Borders Bill could and are increasing the adverse impact of the policy.
We believe that this situation will only be remedied by ensuring that everyone has access to a social security safety net by bringing the no recourse to public funds policy to an end.
* No recourse to public funds is an immigration condition imposed on undocumented migrants and people who have leave to remain subject to a NRPF restriction. A person with NRPF cannot access most welfare benefits or social housing but they can access publicly funded services that are not listed as ‘public funds’.