Please note: This chapter gives a broad overview of the relevant legislation and guidance. This is an area which is likely to be impacted upon by ongoing case law, and legal advice should be sought as appropriate in relation to specific cases.
In addition the above guidance states it will also be necessary to have policies in place that address NRPF service provision, which address how discretionary powers are exercised towards particular groups, for example, pregnant women without children. Customer may therefore include additional local information.
March 2016: This chapter has been comprehensively updated to incorporate revised guidance from the NRPF Network, as linked above.
The term no recourse to public funds (NRPF) applies to people who are subject to immigration control.
The definition of ‘subject to immigration control’ includes non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who:
The statement ‘no public funds’ will be written on the person’s immigration documentation, if they have immigration permission with NRPF.
People subject to immigration control are not entitled to receive the following welfare benefits:
They are also not entitled to allocated local authority housing, or assistance from the local authority in relation to homelessness.
People who are subject to immigration control may require the support of an interpreter in their contact with adult social care (see Interpreting, Signing and Communication Needs).
There are, additionally, other groups of migrants who may request subsistence and /or accommodation from the local authority, because they are not entitled to welfare benefits and local authority housing, and therefore require NRPF services. These may include:
For more detailed information, see Practice Guidance for Local Authorities (England): Assessing and Supporting Adults who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF Network, 2015).
Asylum seekers may be entitled to support from UK Visas and Immigration. For more information see UK Visas and Immigration – Asylum Support, Section 4 Policy and Process.
The local authority is required to inform the Home Office of:
This duty should be explained to adults upon presentation to the local authority.
Section 21 of the Care Act 2014 provides that a local authority may not meet the needs for care and support of an adult or carer (and may not perform their duty to prevent the needs for care and support of an adult) to whom section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (exclusion from benefits) applies and whose needs for care and support have arisen solely:
(a) because the adult is destitute,
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of being destitute.
A person is destitute if:
(a) s/he does not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not his/her other essential living needs are met);or
(b) s/he has adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet his/her other essential living needs).
Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended) states that the following five classes of person are ineligible for support and assistance under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014:
5. Failed asylum seekers with dependant children who have been certified by the Secretary of State as having failed to take steps to leave the UK voluntarily.
Note that this category is wider than Section 2.1, Persons subject to immigration control who are destitute but have no additional needs.
Note also that, whilst those falling within this category are not entitled to ‘support or assistance’ or duties towards carers of the Care Act 2014, there is no prohibition on a local authority undertaking its general duties with regard to providing information and advice (see Information and Advice) or prevention (see Preventing, Reducing and Delaying Needs).
The legal restrictions as set out above are, however, subject to the obligation upon local authorities not to perform their duties in such a way as to breach the human rights of service users.
In all situations, the local authority should provide support if this is necessary for the purpose of avoiding a breach of the service user’s human rights, that is the local authority should go on to assess needs if there would be a breach of human rights if support is not provided.
In practice this means that local authorities must undertake a human rights assessment to consider whether, or to what extent, the circumstances are such that the bar on providing support or assistance under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 should be lifted in order to avoid a breach of human rights or (in the case of EEA nationals and their family members) Community treaty rights. This will involve consideration as to whether the adult is freely able to return to their country of origin without there being any breach of their human rights. If there are no legal or practical barriers to return, then the local authority does not have a duty to support an adult who is freely able to return to their country of origin, as was found in Kimani v LB Lambeth (2003). The courts have determined that the denial of support in such instances does not constitute a breach of human rights: see AW v Croydon LBC; A, D and Y v Hackney LBC and another (2006).
Local authorities must have regard to the case of Limbuela v Secretary of State (2004), in which the High Court determined that a decision which compels a person to sleep rough, or be without shelter, and without funds usually amounts to inhuman treatment and therefore engages Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In an email to the NRPF Network dated 29 July 2015, the Home Office and Department of Health confirmed that:
In all cases, in establishing the facts of the case when an adult with NRPF requests assistance, the local authority should:
3.2.1 Adults subject to immigration control who are destitute but have no additional needs
3.2.2 Adults Ineligible for Support and Assistance under Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
Where support is to be terminated, this decision should be made by the service manager who should be informed by a current assessment record.
The adult should be informed of this decision by the social worker. This should be confirmed in writing and should include the 28 day notice period from when support will terminate. It should also advise the person to seek legal advice if they disagree with the decision. The letter should be translated into the person’s first language as appropriate.
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