Organisations

Tackling and Preventing Destitution

Welcome to our partnership page for the sharing of experience and knowledge of supporting people with a status of No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

NRPF Resources in Scotland

A useful starting point is the online Guide to Migrant Rights and Entitlements (updated August 2023).

 Migration Scotland created this guide to assist local authority staff as well as provide information for people working in all sectors, who need to establish a migrant individual or family’s support options and entitlement to services. The guide provides examples of good practice and guidance with regards to in responding to the needs of destitute migrant individuals and families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

Information includes the following sections:

  • How to understand a person’s immigration status and entitlements to public funds
  • Information about support from social services for people with no recourse to public funds
  • Exclusions to support from social services, pathways out of destitution for people with no recourse to public funds
  • Considerations for additionally vulnerable groups
  • Additional links and further information
  • A glossary of terms used throughout

General resources

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) published the following article:
No Recourse To Public Funds is a public health risk and causes destitution‘ which links to their report from March 2021 about migrants with NRPF during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

JustRight Scotland runs the  Scottish Refugee & Migrant Centre which delivers collaborative projects targeting 5 key areas of work: Children, Women, Family Reunion, Destitution and Just Citizens. In 2019 they ran a workshop on the topic of Access to Healthcare for People with No Recourse to Public Funds which has links to many useful resources.

The Migrant Rights Network has an online Know your rights guide to help migrants understand their rights and how to assert them. 

Migration Policy Scotland builds connections between lived experience and professional expertise, between policy and practice, between those seeking to be heard and those seeking to better understand how migration can shape our future.

The NRPF Network is based in England but provides information for Scotland too. It is a national network safeguarding the welfare of destitute families, adults and care leavers who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status. They support councils to prevent homelessness, alleviate child poverty, promote integration within local communities, and to operate cost-efficient services.

More specific resources can be found below:

  • EUSS (European Union Settlement Scheme) Clinics

Our NRNE Partnership Facilitators and Citizens Rights Project volunteers Iona and Laura have new dates for their EU Settlement Scheme Application Support Clinics

These clinics will be held monthly and appointments can be made by emailing [email protected]

These clinics can assist with:

  • Late applications, for those whom missed the application deadline of 30th June
  • Referral on for higher level immigration advice via Settled UK for complex and vulnerable cases
  • Joining family member applications
  • Following up on outstanding applications with Home Office, support to provide additional evidence to application
  • Upgrading from Pre-Settled to Settled Status
  • Support to access digital profile

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  • Assisting EEA nationals: entitlements and support options

For Local Authorities working with EAA Nationals, this factsheet (published jointly by COSLA and the NRPF Network in May 2022) provides information to help local authorities in Scotland understand how the immigration status of an EEA national will affect their entitlements and to establish what support options may need to be considered by the local authority when a person is destitute or at risk of homelessness.

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On the gov.uk website, you will find this guide to helping access information on people’s immigration status :

Your immigration status: an introduction for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

Help accessing your immigration status
If you need help accessing or using the online immigration status services, you can contact the UKVI Resolution Centre:

Telephone: 0300 790 6268
Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm UK local time

Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm UK local time

If you cannot contact UK 0300 numbers, use +44 (0)203 875 4669.

The Resolution Centre provides telephone and email support to all account holders using the online immigration status services, and BRC/P holders using the online right to work or right to rent services.

This includes supporting users through the online journey:

  • helping them to access or recover their account
  • helping them to update their personal details
  • sharing status on behalf of account holders if they are unable to do so themselves

The Resolution Centre will also be able to assist users who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and where necessary, enable account holders’ status to be verified through alternative means.

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  • CPAG (The Child Poverty Action Group) have many resources on their website although  a subscription is needed for access to some items. This factsheet is available for free:

Ask CPAG | EU citizen guide to claiming benefits in the UK

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  • Just Citizens, a project of JustRight Scotland

JustCitizens have written several factsheets to help EU citizens better understand their rights to live, work, study and access healthcare, benefits and housing in Scotland.

Rights of EU Citizens in Scotland

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Their work ranges from organising and mobilising EU citizens’ communities, informing people of their rights, holding the Government to account on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, promoting access to justice, advocating for an easier pathway to citizenship and residence-based voting rights at local elections, giving EU citizens in the UK to a chance to change the narrative on migration, and advocating for social justice.

They have a Resource Hub which holds useful information and resources about the EU Settlement Scheme. 

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  • The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is based in London but provides advice nationally on a second-tier basis, that is, to other advice agencies and lawyers who are assisting individuals. 

They are currently running projects on domestic violence and human trafficking, EEA Women in Prison, and EEA migrant homelessness. 

If you want to get advice from them, you can email at [email protected] or call on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10.30am and 6pm on 020 7831 4276.

They won’t be able to give advice over the telephone but will take down the details of the advice request and get back to you on whether they can assist. They aim to respond within two to three weeks but in urgent cases might be able to respond more quickly.

The NRPF Network has a useful online resource to help establish a family’s support options when they are destitute or at risk of homelessness, and have no recourse to public funds. Please be aware that this is mainly a guide for English practitioners but does include some information relating to Scotland. The Support for migrant families web tool is useful for finding out pathways to support. In Scotland families can be referred for help for their children due to legislation passed under Section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. 

The Scottish Refugee Council provides a Family Rights Service which supports parents and their children from the start to the end of the asylum process. 

The Children’s Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has an Advice Line for Frontline Advisers and Support Staff in Scotland, which is for welfare rights advisers, student advisers, housing staff, health staff, family support staff, social workers, solicitors and other advisers and frontline support staff from organisations in Scotland.

They offer free, independent, expert, up-to-date advice and information in Scotland on all aspects of the benefits and tax credits system – what to claim, how to claim and what to do when things go wrong.

The charity Maternity Action has training and support for volunteers, advisers, community workers, midwives and maternity support workers who are supporting migrant women who are pregnant or new mothers.

The Migrant Women’s Rights Service provides a helpline with advice on the housing and support options for all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, including women who have overstayed their visas. They also provide advice on NHS charging and access to NHS maternity care.

To speak to an adviser, please call the Migrant Women’s Rights Service on 020 7251 6189.

The helpline is open:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10am-12pm and 2–4pm.

Email advice
For advice, please email: [email protected].

For advice on charging for NHS maternity care please call 0808 800 0041 on Wednesday or Thursdays from 10–12 noon or email: [email protected].

Please look at our information page for international students who may be struggling with a status of NRPF.

The Scottish Government Students Awards Agency Scotland International Students’ Emergency Fund (running until  the end of July 2023) may also be useful

To find out more about our sub-group of organisations working with international students and NRPF please click here.

JustRight Scotland has a useful blog post 

‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ and migrant women living with abuse

Click here for more information about our No Recourse North East Partnership sub-group for organisations working with people affected by domestic violence and a status of NRPF.

The Ten Year Route to Settlement

The IPPR  (The Institute for Public Policy Research) has a publication from March 2023 which is:

‘A punishing process’: Experiences of people on the 10-year route to settlement

Background Reading

UK-wide picture
Released in July 2023

This literature review is part of COMPAS’ Understanding Migrant Destitution in the UK research project, a UK-wide study (2022-2023) focusing on local authority practice and provision for vulnerable people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) facing destitution. 
Building on COMPAS’(2015) research on Safeguarding Children From Destitution: Local Authority Responses To Families With ‘No Recourse To Public Funds’ (NRPF),  a mixed methods approach was used to explore the following core research questions across all four nations of the UK:

  • How has the cohort of people with NRPF and at risk of destitution changed since 2015?
  • How has social care provision for people with NRPF at risk of destitution changed, including in relation to decisions made on who is eligible for services?
  • How have outcomes for destitute people with NRPF changed since 2015?
 
The All Party Parliamentary Group on NRPF
 
Just Fair is a research and campaigning charity which believes that protecting economic, social, and cultural rights is essential in creating a fairer and more just society. Their section on NRPF issues is here:
 

With Project 17, they are co-Secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on no recourse to public funds (NRPF) which seeks to raise the voices of people living with NRPF and gain cross-party support across UK Parliament to end the restriction.

 

The purpose of the APPG on NRPF is to draw attention to the challenges faced by destitute migrants who have NRPF by virtue of having irregular immigration status or a condition imposed on their visa, with a particular focus on families and vulnerable adults, and to contribute to the development of policy and legislation in this area.

 
The Picture in Scotland
 

Using a human-rights focused approach, COSLA and the Scottish Government published a strategy in March 2021 to improve support for people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) living in Scotland. This strategy was Ending Destitution Together

One of the actions from the Ending Destitution Together report resulted in the formation of the Fair Way Scotland partnership.

The partnership published a report in October 2021 setting out proposals to counteract UK Government policy that leaves many people seeking sanctuary in Scotland unable to access most benefits due to their immigration status under ‘NRPF’ conditions.

The report, produced with input from people with personal experience of the asylum and immigration system, claims NRPF conditions amount to ‘destitution by design’ undermining Scotland’s human rights ambitions and providing an urgent example of where human rights are being breached.  The initiative seeks to create a co-ordinated gateway to a safe destination which joins up temporary accommodation with personal and emotional support, legal casework and general advice and advocacy.

The full five year Fair Way Scotland action plan runs from 2021 – 2026

The freephone number for Fairway Scotland is 0808 196 7274 to speak to someone who can connect you with relevant help and advice.

The Year Two Ending Destitution Together Progress Report was published on the 19th October 2023.

Scotland and Migration in General

Migration Policy Scotland have published the following report: Attitudes to Immigration: A view from Scotland
Kyambi, S. and Kay, R. (September 2023) Attitudes to Immigration: A view from Scotland, Migration Policy Scotland.pdf

Migration Policy Scotland research finds Scottish attitudes to immigration have warmed considerably. This is the first representative survey of attitudes to immigration since 2014. The report details the findings of an online survey carried out through Diffley Partnership’s Scotpulse panel between 17-19 January 2023 gathering the views of 1,162 adults across all 8 Scottish Parliamentary regions.

Key Findings

  1. A greater proportion of the Scottish public want immigration to be increased (38%)rather than decreased (28%), although those wanting an increase mainly support a modest increase, while those wanting immigration to decrease want it to be reduced ‘a lot’. A sizeable proportion want immigration to ‘remain the same as it is’ (34%).
  2. The impacts of immigration are seen as positive by the majority of people in
    Scotland. This is true of impacts at both Scotland (59%) and local area level (48%).
  3. People in Scotland have a strong preference for labour migrants to have the option
    to remain in Scotland for the longer term ‘to settle and integrate’ (66%)

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Wellbeing for people working in the Migrant sector

BeWell have a website which includes a blog with case studies, insights, examples and resources from organisations working in the migration sector.

There is also a Support Directory of experts, organisations, products and services to support people working in the migration sector.