The Children’s Society report: A Lifeline for All

Posted 20.05.2020

The Children’s Society has published A Lifeline for All which highlights how ‘no recourse to public funds’ and further strict immigration policies are leaving thousands of children growing up in long-term poverty, trapped in cycles of homelessness, destitution and mounting debt and segregated from their communities and peers. Their life chances dictated by their parents’ immigration status and the NRPF condition.

To better understand the impacts of NRPF and the characteristics of those it affects, The Children’s Society interviewed families, reviewed case files, and analysed data from the NRPF Network, the Migration Observatory, and the Home Office.

Key findings:

·        Hundreds of thousands of children and adults in the UK have no access to the welfare benefits lifeline, regardless of their needs or the deprivation they experience. Analysis by the Migration Observatory of Home Office data found there were 142,496 children under 18 and 1,002,091 adults who had leave to remain in the UK at 31 December 2016, the vast majority of whom will have had NRPF applied to their status.

·        Most of the parents struggling with NRPF conditions are of African, Asian and Caribbean nationalities, predominantly from former British colonies. Their children, however, are often British citizens, were born or raised here, and have only ever known the UK as their home.

·        Many are single mothers; a disproportionate number of these families have children with additional needs.

·        Many serve in key roles as care workers, cleaners, NHS staff or in food preparation. And yet even when they juggle multiple jobs or work extended hours, without the ability to access top up benefits or vital childcare support, their income alone is not enough to meet the basic needs of their children.

At this time of crisis, The Children’s Society are calling upon the government to suspend NRPF conditions, immigration fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge so families can access the lifeline of benefits when needed and prioritise any savings and income on feeding and protecting their children. They also urge the government to extend all leave to remain and to ensure local authorities – many of whom are taking steps using alternative powers and funding to assist those with NRPF during the Covid-19 pandemic – are adequately resourced to support these families.

The Children’s Society are also calling for longer-term changes to the policy and calling on the Home Office to no longer apply the NRPF conditions to parents with leave to remain in the UK where they have children under 18 years old. Where NRPF conditions have previously been lifted, they should not be re-applied in subsequent applications.


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