Immigration System (Public Funds)

Thank you for contacting me about supporting people in the immigration system.

I believe that those who arrive in the UK to establish their family life must do so on a basis that prevents burdens on the state and the taxpayer. It is a key principle that those who benefit from the state should contribute towards it. 

I know that the Government's general expectation is that migrants coming to the UK should be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds. This reflects the need to maintain the confidence of the general public that immigration brings benefits to our country, rather than costs to the public purse.

I understand that it is Home Office policy that visa fees should be charged consistently across customer groups in order to support the overall funding of the migration and borders system. However, fee waivers are available in a number of circumstances. This includes a waiver for those making Article 8 claims, based on Family and Private life, who are unable to afford the fee or where payment of the fee would leave them unable to meet the needs of a child who is dependent upon them.

Those who have leave to remain in the UK on human rights grounds can apply to have their no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition removed if they would otherwise be destitute. Local authorities can also provide a safety net for those in a genuine need for care that does not solely arise from destitution. These include cases where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health issues or family cases. 

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 conditions’ 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.

The protection of public funds through NRPF is a standard condition applied to those staying in the UK with a temporary immigration status. Indefinite Leave to Remain is set as the general threshold for permitting migrants to access public funds.

For asylum seekers, I know that any individual who would otherwise be destitute is provided with free accommodation, utility bills and council tax paid and a weekly cash allowance with extra money available for mothers and young children. The cash allowance has been raised to £49.18 per week for each person in the household.

These measures have been developed over many years by successive Governments,  approved by Parliament, and are consistent with legislation in comparable countries. 

Thank you again for contacting me.