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.

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.


Stars celebrate Avicii at emotional tribute concert

Stars including Rita Ora, Adam Lambert and David Guetta have played a charity tribute concert in honour of the late Swedish DJ Avicii.

Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead in Oman in April 2018, at the age of 28.

His family said at the time he was a perfectionist who struggled with stress and “could not go on any longer”.

Proceeds from the concert will go to mental health and suicide prevention charities.

It opened on an emotional note, with thousands of fans lighting up Stockholm’s Friends Arena with their phones; as Swedish singer Sandro Cavazzo performed his Avicii collaboration Without You.

The song’s poignant lyrics – “I’ve gotta learn how to love without you” – have become a eulogy for the DJ in the wake of his death; with the single returning to the top of the charts in his home country.

Embellished by mournful strings, Cavazzo’s sensitive delivery set the tone for the concert, which carefully balanced commemoration and celebration.

As the song ended, she formed her hands into a heart symbol in tribute to Avicii.

After leaving the stage, she posted a heartfelt note on Instagram, saying: “I want to thank Avicii’s family for organising this [concert] to raise awareness for mental health especially within the music industry.

“Often success can be seen as a representation that someone is also doing well mentally, however we can see here that there is sooo much more work to be done.”

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience for the show, which was streamed live on YouTube and Facebook.

A parade of Avicii’s friends and collaborators graced the stage, including Adam Lambert, Michelle Gonzalez, Agnes Carlsson, Kygo and Belgian DJ Dimitri Vegas.

Aloe Blacc, who scored a worldwide hit with Avicii on the dance-country crossover Wake Me Up, was among those paying tribute.

‘Wake-up call’

“Every generation has its icon and heroes who break convention to capture hearts and minds,” he said. “Our friend Tim Bergling was one of those bright, shining stars.

“Through his music, he shared his joy, his pain and his passion, and I witnessed his brilliance first hand.

“I trusted him and I believed in his artistic vision, and in a short time I would see the tremendous impact our collaboration would have on the world. It changed my life forever. Thank you, Tim.”

Dance producer David Guetta called Avicii’s death “a wake-up call for our community”.

Musicians, whether they’re DJs, pop stars or rock bands “push [themselves] constantly and it never stops,” he explained to Rolling Stone ahead of the concert.

“You always need to deliver constantly. It’s very difficult and the expectations, when you’ve reached the top, are huge, and so many people depend on you.”

The star said he had cut back his touring commitments after Avicii died, restricting himself to no more than 100 shows per year.

Aloe Blacc
Image captionAloe Blacc performed Wake Me Up and SOS – a posthumously-released song that addressed Avicii’s struggles
David Guetta
Image captionDavid Guetta said Avicii’s death had made him prioritise his own mental wellbeing
Fans at the Avicii tribute concert
Image captionFans lit up Stockholm’s Friends Arena to memorialise the star
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience
Image captionPrince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience

The concert ended with an extended, valedictory version of Avicii’s signature song, Levels, as the arena lit up with fireworks and laser beams. Some of the crowd danced through the sadness, others stood silently in tears.

As the club beats faded into a melancholy orchestral coda, home videos of the late DJ flashed across the screen, lingering on a final, still image before fading to black.

In a statement, Avicii’s father, Klas Bergling, said the family had wanted the concert to put “the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide” on the political agenda.

“Policies and tools are needed to detect the risks and prevent suicide, especially among young people,” he added.

“We are grateful that his friends, artists and musicians with whom he worked during his career have come to Stockholm to help us realise this tribute concert.”