Archives for July 2020

Lawyer Daniel Koi writes: Lifting of No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Condition: Migrants with Limited Leave Granted Under Family and Private Life in the UK

The No Recourse to Public Funds (‘NRPF’) condition has subjected a lot of migrant families to unsafe, insecure housing and extreme poverty. The NRPF condition has become a very important issue, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. This is because, many migrants have been rendered jobless due to the pandemic, yet, they are unable to access public funds.

The NRPF condition applies to almost all migrants subject to immigration control. These are migrants granted limited leave to remain in the UK such as those on student or spousal visas and those with limited leave granted under family and private life.

If a migrant is subject to immigration control, it means that they are not eligible to access certain public defined funds such as income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit among others. There are however some limited exceptions to the NRPF condition but these are mostly about limited leave granted under family life.

A migrant who was granted limited leave to remain based on their family and private life can apply to the Home Office to request removal of the NRPF condition. The migrant must show in their application that they have provided the decision-maker with:

•             satisfactory evidence that he or she is destitute;

•             satisfactory evidence that there are particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of a child on account of the child’s parents’ receipt of a very low income; or

•             established exceptional circumstances in their case relating to their financial circumstances.

Irrespective of this provision, the decision on whether or not to vary an applicant’s leave and grant recourse to public funds, to enable the migrant access certain public defined funds is solely at the discretion of the decision-maker.

The legality of the NRPF policy has been challenged over the years since its introduction in 2012 by the then Home Secretary. The High Court has recently ruled over the NRPF condition and the ruling is a welcome relief particularly for migrants with limited leave to remain under family and private life rules.

The case concerns a British child, who for most parts of his life had to endure extreme poverty because his migrant mother’s wages as a carer was insufficient to keep both of them properly housed and fed. The migrant mother made an application providing evidence to the effect that if the NRPF condition was not varied, she would be destitute. The NRPF condition was not varied, as a result, the migrant mother issued judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State challenging the imposition of the NRPF condition.

The Court on hearing the case ruled that the government must make it easier for migrants to gain access to the welfare system if they are about to become destitute. This means that migrants should be given the right to access public funds in instances where they are not yet destitute, but they would imminently suffer inhuman or degrading treatment without it.

The court also stated in its ruling that, the NRPF policy breaches Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment and as such was contrary to s.6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The court also noted that the current relevant immigration rules and instructions to the Home Office caseworkers fail to address cases where an applicant was not yet suffering, but would imminently suffer, inhuman or degrading treatment if the NRPF condition was not lifted. The court stated further that, when the rules and instructions are read together, it fails to take into consideration the human rights obligations when caseworkers are deciding on an application. As a result, it gives rise to a real risk of unlawful decisions in a significant number of cases.

In conclusion, the court is of the view that aspects of the NRPF policy must be amended to make it clear to the caseworkers, the circumstances in which they should impose or vary an NRPF condition, in the case of a migrant who is not currently destitute but will imminently become destitute if the condition is not lifted to enable him or her gain access to public funds.  

In the current climate where many individuals have suffered income shortage due to the COVID -19 pandemic, this is a perfect opportunity for migrants with limited leave to remain in the UK to apply for their No recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition to be lifted from their status. We at Fortwell Solicitors have successfully assisted a good number of people in recent weeks to do exactly that and are posed to assist even more numbers.

–Mr. Daniel Koi, Solicitor at Fortwell Solicitors.

Fortwell Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London.  By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  We will assist you with all aspects of business and personal immigration law.  If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please phone our London office on +44203 325 7030 / +447944976161 and speak to Mr Daniel Koi.

Running Up To December 2020 General Elections

Background

We are 5 (five) months away from the next general elections scheduled for 7th December 2020 and, as usual, the duopoly in Ghanaian political arena enjoyed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is at a crescendo as far as new impressions to the electorate are concerned.

Together, these 2 main political parties have administered our country’s affairs for 42 (forty-two) years; NDC has ruled us for 27 years (including 11 years under PNDC, 8 years for Rawlings and 8 years for the late Prof. J E. Atta Mills and ex-President Mr. J. D Mahama. NPP has also ruled us for 15 years (including 3 years for the late Prime Minister, Prof. K. A Busia, 8 years for President J. A Kufuor and Nana Addo’s 4 years running up to December 2020).

Prior to the duopoly, Nkrumah and his CPP ruled Ghana for 9 (nine) years plus the 10 years of Military rules; NLC’s 3 years and National Redemption and Supreme Military Councils’ 7 years, and President Hila Liman and his PNP, 2 years.

This summary gives us a total of 63 years that equates to our independence from Great Britain 63 years ago (1957 to 2020). As a nation, Ghana has not made the requisite progress that would befit an independent country which was supposed to be “capable of running its own affairs” as declared by Nkrumah on Ghana’s attainment of independence on 6th March 1957.

Of the 10 ten administrations listed above, it is only our first administration led by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People’s Party (CPP) that made significant progress in the land within only 9 years (1957 to1966) in governance and which – exponentially, 54 years on – could have developed Ghana to the likes of Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Key among Nkrumah’s major developmental achievements are the Hydro-Electric project, creating the model township of Tema, the first of its kind in West Africa then, the introduction of Ghana Airways, Black Star (Shipping) Line, establishment of 2 (two) major Universities, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast and several manufacturing establishments under the Ghanaian Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC).

Ending the Duopoly in Ghana’s politics

A new wave of political sanitisation must be invoked to stop the continuing duopoly in our political climate by ushering in a serious and reformist political party such as the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) that ranks third in Ghana’s political arena, to contribute its reformist agenda for change so as to broaden Ghana’s horizons towards the achievement of economic growth through full employment to improve the quality of lives and well-being of the citizenry.

We of the PPP do not seek to conform ourselves to the standards of the NDC and NPP. Instead, our agenda for change shall bring with it the eradication of the endemic parochialism, ethnocentrism, and tribal sentiments in the country that by extension, has led to institutionalised corruption that has resulted at the expense of the majority. The creation of a wide gap between the rich and the poor because all our efforts have been undertaken for the purpose of enabling a few persons to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor majority. Plato has intimated that, and I quote “if you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools”

Manifesto Promises

The NDC/NPP have started spasmodic general election campaigns with snippets of new promises and assurances ahead of publishing their manifestos. In our usual excitement, we have consistently overlooked to hold our governments accountable for previous manifesto promises that won them votes to govern us in the first place. Traditionally, those manifestos get undelivered, but our society easily let bygones become bygones and start on a clean slate because the old and bigger political parties have tested the nerves of the Ghanaian voter who “gives all to God” and rather focuses on the forthcoming general election.

This time we must punish the sycophants by voting against them. Ghana has endured failed and undeliverable Manifesto assurances by both NPP and NDC for 28 (twenty-eight) years in this fourth republic and the political parties have gotten away unpunished with many unfulfilled promises. PPP believes in under-promising and over-delivering of manifesto assurances. Surely, that is the way forward for yet our under-developed country for all those years that we have gained political independence.

The time is apt to sponsor the introduction of a Legislative Instrument in Parliament to oblige incumbent governments to report to the nation on their manifesto promises as to delivery and non -delivery by the end of September in each election year, listing out the promises that have been fully delivered and those that have not been delivered and the reasons for non-delivery? That way, future manifesto promises shall be made with reasonable caution in the best interests of the nation and that would be the only way to put our shoulders on the wheels on our path to development.

Continuation of uncompleted projects by previous administrations

Prior to 2016 general elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the then NPP Presidential candidate assured the people of Ghana that his government, God-willing, from January 2017, will not abandon any project on the basis that “it was started by a political opponent.” As assuring as it was then in 2016, so shall we expect this undertaking to be honoured during NPP’s tenure of office. However, in the interest of our nation it would only be fair for us to consider sponsoring a Legislative Instrument (as indicated above) to oblige future governments to continue and finish uncompleted projects inherited from previous administrations before embarking on new projects.

Legislation against False and undeliverable Campaign Promises

The trend whereby political parties of over-promise and under-deliver their own manifesto promises has gone on for an awful long time and running up to 2020 elections, the Progressive People’s Party is drawing attention to this debacle and calling on the people of Ghana to stand firm with us to promulgate the legislative instrument necessary to bring to an end the despicable practice whereby we support dishonest political parties that habitually cheat the nation and get away with it just because no one calls them to order. This time I am appealing to all political parties to subject themselves to “manifesto scrutiny” for our country to move ahead. Included in NPP’s 2016 manifesto promises to deliver one district, one factory and one village, one dam and guaranteeing $1miilion dollars for every district in the country among others was instrumental in getting the NPP elected to serve the nation. Even non-NPP folks voted for the NPP and that is why they won by a whopping 1 million votes. We therefore expect these 2016 manifesto promises to be delivered without excuses if our country should proceed to the “promised land” of economic emancipation.

Equal Opportunities for political parties in media platforms

As we prepare to mount the campaign trail, it is necessary for all political parties to be given equal media platforms, including pro-political party media houses, to deliver their messages to the people. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) must do away with their criteria for Presidential candidates taking part in their debates provided they have representation in parliament. In the case of my Party that is comparatively new; just 8 years old and working hard to win parliamentary seats this requirement disenfranchises us.

Service to Ghana must be paramount above all things and not satisfying IEA’s rule that is discriminatory. I am therefore calling on them (IEA) to reconsider including prospective Presidential candidates who have no representation in our parliament to take part in the debates. This stance of the Institute has the tendency of eliminating the otherwise much more credible candidates to lead our country into the future.

Time to Change direction

NDC and NPP have ruled our country for 42 (forty-two) years and we have not achieved much progress for these years by these two political parties, aside from performance evaluation and unnecessary comparisons between themselves as there is no third party to call them to order. There must be a change in direction by the electorate voting for Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) parliamentary candidates at the next general elections to ensure that there is a mouthpiece for the majority poorer in our society. Ghana deserves better with the massive mineral resources at our disposal. A few people in high positions within our governments, past and present are enriching themselves at the expense of the poor souls who vote them into governance.

As ex-President Kufuor once said, and on quote, “consider your situation before casting your vote”. May this wise saying guide us in our journey to the next general elections on 7th December 2020 to free our nation from oppressor’s rule.

Kit Yawson

Chairman

PPP UK & Ireland

London

Email: kitconvention@gmail.com

Nduom Slams GFA For Cancelling League

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the president and founder of Premier League side, Elmina Sharks, has slammed the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for terminating the 2019/20 football season without recourse to the club owners.

According to him the local football governing body had no locus to cancel the league without consulting the club owners and wondered why such a unilateral decision could be taken when the GFA was merely an administrative body.

“Who is this that is cancelling this league, and who is this that is considering the financial and the health impact of all of this?” he inquired during an interview with UK-based GN Radio and Channel 7 TV.

He noted that the FA should have contacted him first as a club owner before taking such a decision, but he was not involved during the decision-making, a practice he condemned.

“It is not the club owners, and strange enough in Ghana, it is not the club owners who are calling for the cancellation, and nobody called me as a club owner to ask me what is my opinion to be done.”

According to the businessman, football administrators were put in their positions by the clubs and do not invest anything into the game, and as such should not assume so much power to decide what should be done at any given time.

“We have people they’re calling as football administrators; a football administrator doesn’t have a penny or a pesewa in the game. Somebody who is elected by people we have employed to work for us cannot tell me, and shouldn’t be put in a position to tell me what I should and should not do,” he said.

Dr Ndoum, who was also the Presidential candidate for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) during the 2016 general elections, also stated that the clubs were a private entity and knew how to run their business but it appeared government was interfering with their affairs this time around.

“It should not be up to government to tell a private enterprise what to do, except what the government is telling everybody else what to do.

 “It is about time that the people who have invested in football as private enterprises that we are should be the ones calling for the cancellation of football in Ghana, and that a league should be there that is owned, managed and controlled by those who have invested in football in Ghana.

“This is what happens in the UK and those administrators they’ve hired, they come and go, but it is the owners who make the decisions,” he noted.

“Owners of the big clubs in the English Premier League get together and they have a strong affiliation to help each other in terms of commercial, there’s nothing that stops Ghana from doing that same financial considerations.

“It is the owners who should have sat down to decide [whether] we can handle it this way or not, but nobody talked to us. I hear that there was a call among the managers of the teams but the managers that I have recruited and I pay cannot go and make decisions for me”, he stated.

Credit: GRAPHIC.COM

Prioritize The Health Of Ghanaians Over Elections – Nduom

The Founder of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has urged the government to prioritise the health of citizens over the need to conduct elections amid the threat of COVID-19.

Dr. Nduom noted that the December polls are essential to Ghana’s democracy but not at the expense of human lives.

“An election is something that if necessary, we can do without but we cannot do without the human being in Ghana,” he noted in an interview on GN Radio in the UK.

“What will profit anybody to do well in an election and find out that all the people are sick or the people are not doing well and businesses are collapsing and so on and so forth.”

“So we must first take care of the health of the people,” Dr. Nduom stressed

Ghana as of July 5, 2020 had recorded 20,085 cases of COVID-19 with 122 fatalities.

In addition, 14,870 persons have been discharged after treatment.

The Greater Accra Region has the most cases with 10,979, out of which 2,501 are active.

The ongoing voter registration exercise has been a point of contention with observers warning it will contribute to a spike in cases of the virus.

Some health professionals in the country have written to the Electoral Commission asking it to pause the ongoing voter registration exercise until safer ways of conducting the exercise are identified to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

According to them, suspending the exercise will help prevent needless deaths related to the virus in the country.

“Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives,” the group said in its letter to the commission.

Source: CITI NEWSROOM