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Supporting people with No Recourse to Public Funds Good practice in homelessness services. Tasmin Maitland, Head of Innovation and Good Practice [email protected] @tasmin_igp. Refugees have recourse to public funds! Refugee status Humanitarian protection

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supporting people with no recourse to public funds good practice in homelessness services
Supporting people with No Recourse to Public FundsGood practice in homelessness services

Refugees have recourse to public funds!

  • Refugee status
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Discretionary leave
  • Indefinite leave to remain
  • usually same entitlement to public funds as UK citizens
  • and able to work
  • although, increasingly, discretionary leave is awarded with NRPF
the issue
The issue
  • NRPF refers to people who are subject to immigration control and have no entitlement to welfare benefits or public housing
  • High risk of homelessness and destitution
  • No access to mainstream housing, welfare benefits
  • No / limited access to employment
  • Hidden homeless
  • Mistrust of statutory and voluntary agencies
  • Few specialist services
  • Generic services reluctant to engage – assume nothing can be done
who has no recourse to public funds
Who has no recourse to public funds?
  • Asylum seekers
    • asylum claim in process, Home Office Asylum Support
    • reached the end of the legal process and been refused
  • Undocumented or ‘irregular’ migrants
    • entered without a visa
    • stayed after visa expiry
    • other immigration irregularities
  • Documented or ‘regular’ migrants with no income
    • entered with visa, loss of income due to change in circumstances
  • Migrants who do not have the right to reside
    • includes non-EEA migrants and some EEA nationals
  • Migrants who do not pass the habitual residence test
    • includes returning UK citizens
it is legal to support irregular migrants
It is legal to support ‘irregular’ migrants
  • It is Home Office Immigration Enforcement’s role to take action where necessary, not the role of charities.
  • Even when a client has absconded (i.e. evaded Home Office reporting, detention or deportation) there is no obligation on services to contact the Home Office and report them.
assessment support
Assessment & Support
  • Return to ‘country of origin’
  • Regularise immigration status to remain in the UK legally
  • Start or re-start a claim for asylum
  • Get support to alleviate destitution
assessment support1
Assessment & Support
  • Check status, collect information, source translation
  • Explain all the options at the start
  • Legal aid
  • Working with Home Office Immigration
  • Home Office financial support:
    • Section 95: active asylum claims
    • Section 4: hardship claims
  • Accommodation:
    • Specialist services
    • Voluntary sector – night shelters, SWEP, spare room schemes, hostels, supported housing etc
  • Local Authority / Social Services / Mental Health
  • Statutory sources:
  • Home Office Asylum Support
  • Local Authority Homelessness Grant
  • Social Services
  • Mental Health Act
  • Domestic Violence (Local Authority)
  • Voluntary sector:
  • Mixed funding streams for bed space allocation
  • Grants and donations
  • Challenging ‘contract culture’
  • Homeless Link guidance:
  • Other useful links:
  • [email protected]
refugee action s services


Refugee Action’s Services

Support and Advice to Asylum Seekers

UNHCR Gateway Protection Programme for Refugees

Refugee Action is a independent national charity working to enable migrants to build new lives. With more than 30 years’ experience, we empower refugees, asylum seekers and migrants by providing confidential, impartial and non-directive advice.

Assisted Voluntary Return

Policy and Campaigning

model of advice


Model of Advice

Impartial, non-directive & independent

Empower clients to make their own informed decision

    • Confidential
  • No personal details need be given, nor will any be passed on to 3rd parties (including UKBA), in order to obtain information and advice.
  • Client Centred
      • Explore all options available to client
      • Life in UK
      • Legal avenues (OISC 2)
motivation of return


Motivation of Return

Pull Factors

  • Change of government
  • Peace agreement
  • Family Illness
  • Death/bereavement
  • Offer of employment
  • Marriage
  • Partner and family ask to return
  • Homesickness

Push Factors

  • Refusal of asylum/appeal
  • Time waiting for decision
  • Refusal of a friend/family member
  • Poor accommodation/Destitution
  • Limited access to legal advice
  • Unable to seek employment
  • Language difficulties
  • Isolation/loneliness
  • Cultural differences/way of life
assisted voluntary return programmes


Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes
  • Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants programme (AVRIM)
  • Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP)
  • Assisted Voluntary Return for Families and Children Programme (AVRFC)
eligibility criteria


Eligibility Criteria
  • Irregular Migrants
  • Asylum Seekers or refused Asylum Seekers
  • Migrants with Discretionary Leave to Remain
  • Not eligible if:
  • Subject to on going criminal proceedings in the UK
  • Received prison sentence in UK which adds up to 12 months or more (FRS)
  • Removal Directions issued
assisted voluntary return programmes1


Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes
  • Our 3 programmes offer:
  • Flight and onward travel to final destination
  • Assistance with obtaining Travel Documents
  • Reintegration planning
  • Assistance at the airport
  • In addition financial assistance is provided to:
  • Asylum Seekers and migrants with Discretionary Leave to Remain - up to £1500
  • All families and unaccompanied minors – up to £2000 per family member
  • Irregular Migrants -vulnerability payment up to £1000 in exceptional circumstances
safeguarding policies


Safeguarding Policies
  • Physical and Mental Health Needs
  • Victims of Trafficking (NRM, Salvation Army, First Responder)
  • Domestic Violence
  • High Risk Countries
  • Unaccompanied Minors (Best Interest Assessment/Social, CFAB)
assistance by our overseas partners


Assistance by our Overseas Partners
  • Algeria
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe
  • Meet and Greet at Airport
  • Reintegration payments
  • Advice and assistance
  • Tailored reintegration packages


How to contact Choices

Clients can call us Freephone on:

0808 800 0007

We have multilingual

Leaflets and posters available

Drop-in Sessions:

Mondays & Wednesdays

10am – 12pm

2pm – 4pm

Or visit the Choices website:

personal contact details


Personal Contact Details

Aftaar Malik

[email protected]

Mobile: 07795300766

Choices Freephone Number: 08088000007

Referrals: [email protected]

accommodating people with no recourse to public funds

Accommodating People with No Recourse to Public Funds

Set up Boaz Trust in 2004

To provide accommodation and holistic support for destitute asylum seekers

Currently supporting 78 people: 58 refused asylum seekers with NRPF and 20 refugees.

accommodating people with no recourse to public funds1

Accommodating People with No Recourse to Public Funds

NACCOM began in 2005

Network of organisations accommodating destitute asylum seekers and migrants

Currently 31 projects from Brighton to Glasgow

July 2013 there were 374 accommodated report - “Tackling homelessness and destitution”

accommodating people with nrpf the challenges

Accommodating People with NRPF – The Challenges

Not mainstream: against the tide

Hard to fund (especially statutory): no rents or HB

Not profitable

Long-term sustainability

The numbers with NRPF are huge!

accommodating people with nrpf solutions

Accommodating People with NRPF – Solutions

Think outside the box

Schemes will be ethos-driven

Quality staff working for less

Shared resources

Working with people of goodwill

Less statutory = more resilient

accommodating people with nrpf schemes

Accommodating People with NRPF – Schemes

Hosting: spare rooms in private houses

Night shelters

Religious orders / communities

accommodating people with nrpf housing schemes

Accommodating People with NRPF – HousingSchemes

Rented for NRPF Asylum Link Merseyside

Private Leased Boaz Trust

Vicarages / Presbyteries Arimathea Trust

Housing Associations Hope Housing

Rented Mixed Open Door NE

accommodating people with nrpf considerations

Accommodating People with NRPF – Considerations

There must be a way out of NRPF

There must be wide support, or staff and volunteers will burn out

Good communications are essential

Campaigning is also important

Funding will always be needed but seek sustainability

accommodating people with nrpf conclusion

Accommodating People with NRPF – Conclusion

It can be done!

It requires determination and innovation

Ultimately there has to be a political solution