How do I survive now? The impact of living with No Recourse to Public Funds
NRPF is a condition attached to temporary visas which prohibits people from accessing most state benefits and services, including Universal Credit, Child Benefit and social housing. It’s intended to protect the welfare state from short term visitors taking advantage of it. But it’s a policy that, in its scope and its harm, has gone far too far.
There are over a million people who are affected by NRPF in the UK. This is the first nationally representative study of the harms caused by this policy. It confirms what migrant groups and front line charities have long known: there is a comprehensive picture of hardship:
81% of people with NRPF are behind on at least 1 bill, compared to 1 in 5 (20%) people in the UK at large
3 in 5 (60%) people with NRPF are currently behind on rent, compared to 8% for the UK population at large. And just under half (48%) of people with NRPF report living in overcrowded accommodation
Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) have been unable to feed themselves or their household because of the policy
Over 4 in 5 (83%) people with NRPF say that NRPF has had a negative impact on their mental health, with 1 in 2 reporting that it has had a very negative impact
Around 1 in 7 (15%) parents with NRPF said their children couldn’t keep up with school work as NRPF meant they didn’t have access to the internet or a computer.
With limited and inadequate exceptions, NRPF places a blanket ban on these long term residents claiming state support when needed. Some of the harm could be mitigated by reforming the policy - for instance by ceasing to apply the conditions to families with children. But the best way to address the damage caused by the policy is to give people who are building their life in the UK the access to the safety net they need, by removing the condition from all those who are habitually resident in the UK.