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Committee of MPs launches inquiry into children with no recourse to public funds

The Work and Pensions Select Committee is asking for written submissions on the subject of children with no recourse to public funds.

02/09/21

Committee of MPs launches inquiry into children with no recourse to public funds

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has launched an inquiry into children who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), as part of a wider inquiry looking at children in poverty.

As part of the inquiry, the Select Committee is seeking the views of those with knowledge of the area and professionals in the social work sector to inform their considerations.

As a condition of their visa, most categories of migrants in the UK have no recourse to public funds. This means that they, and their children, are ineligible for most welfare benefits. Undocumented migrants and people whose immigration status is insecure are also unable to claim benefits.

There is no official published data on the number of people with NRPF, however, the Children’s Society has previously estimated that over one million people have NRPF, including nearly 150,000 children – including children who are British citizens.

People with certain categories of visa can apply to have the condition lifted if they are facing serious hardship; figures published by the Home Office show that applications rose sharply following the start of the pandemic.

The call for evidence seeks to find out approximately how many children in the UK live in households that have NRPF, and what are the challenges involved in estimating this accurately. The Committee hopes to find out if it is possible to determine how many children who live in households with NRPF are British citizens.

Submissions will also help inform the proportion of children with NRPF living in poverty, and how this compares to children whose families do have access to public funds, as well as the impact of the pandemic on NRPF, the available support from the Government, and the role of local authorities and third sector organisations in supporting children with NRPF.

The issue of NRPF was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when the Prime Minister was accused of failing to understand the condition. In an evidence session with the Liaison Committee in January, Labour MP Stephen Timms asked Boris Johnson if the NRPF condition at least be suspended for the duration of the pandemic, to which the Prime Minister wrongly suggested all migrants barred from state support under the Home Office’s no recourse to public funds (NRPF) policy are in the UK unlawfully.

“I totally understand the logic of your argument, but the problem is it’s a very longstanding provision in this country that NRPF conditions should apply to those for instance who are here illegally or unlawfully,” Johnson said.

Those submitting evidence do not have to answer all the questions and can respond on behalf of an organisation, or as an individual. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 30th September 2021.

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