A huge thank you to everyone who wrote to their MP to invite them to take part in the Westminster Hall debate on 8 October 2020, on the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ visa condition, which bars people from almost all benefits. We all deserve a safety net, and we have never needed one more than in this crisis.

Did your MP speak up?

Stephen Timms (East Ham)

David Simmonds (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner)

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead)

Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark)

Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston)

Barry Gardiner (Brent North)

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden)

Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)

Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West)

Holly Lynch (Halifax)

Chris Philp (Croydon South) - Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, responding for the Government.

Key moments

Why won’t the Home Office say how many people are affected by NRPF?

Stephen Timms MP, who secured the debate, spoke about the reluctance of the Home Office to publish data on exactly how many people are subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds visa condition. Without knowing this, how can the Home Office know what the impacts are?

“Not having the data means not being able to evaluate the policy – that was… a large part of why the Windrush scandal occurred, and now we’re heading down exactly the same tracks with this.”

Entire families are facing homelessness because of this policy

Seema Malhotra MP spoke about a family in her constituency with three children, one of whom has special needs, who have been receiving just £345 per month to survive on through the furlough scheme. As that scheme tapers off, how will the family put food on the table or pay their rent?

“Just think about the impact on those children. As well as having a disrupted year of education, they are worrying about where their food will come from and where their home might be in six months’ time.”

This policy punishes people simply because of where they were born

Chris Stephens MP called the NRPF rule “unreasonable and heartless”.

He added “the coronavirus does not respect borders or immigration status, and… everyone in these islands, including those with no recourse to public funds, deserves help to get through the crisis without facing destitution”.

You can watch the debate on Parliament TV

Or read the transcript in the Parliamentary record, Hansard. 

How did the Government respond?

Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts promised to take away three actions from the debate.

Firstly, to look into the figures Stephen Timms requested.

Secondly, to look whether people with NRPF will be eligible for the £500 payment for people required to self-isolate following a covid test.

And finally, he promised to look at the process by which someone can apply to have their NRPF conditions lifted, with the aim of speeding up the process.

These actions don’t go anything like far enough. Right now, people with No Recourse to Public Funds are being forced to work when they should be shielding, or being left in absolute poverty if their hours get cut or they lose their job. In a public health crisis, the only solution that works is to make sure everyone has access to the social safety net – anything less is not fair, and not safe.

What happens next?

NRPF has to go. We are working with MPs and partner organisations to get this restriction scrapped.

Join us for updates on the campaign and how you can be involved.

Join us and stand with migrants