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Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants highlights impact of Covid-19 on migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds

Summary:

Brief new report finds NRPF is a public health risk and causes destitution

Date of Publication:
03 March 2021

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants highlights impact of Covid-19 on migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds

03 March 2021
EIN

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) yesterday released a brief new report examining the negative impact that the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) visa condition is having on migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

JCWIYou can read the 8-page report here.

According to the report, an estimated 1.4m people in the UK have NRPF, which leaves them to weather the Covid-19 storm without having access to the public safety net.

For the report, JCWI conducted an online survey recording the experiences of migrants during the pandemic and the lockdowns throughout 2020. This was supplemented by 10 interviews with migrants and two interviews with union officials about the experiences of their migrant members.

JCWI found:

• More then half of migrants with NRPF said they would be unable to self-isolate if they or a member of their household were displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

• Migrants work in the hardest-hit industries and many are losing their jobs because of the pandemic, which carries serious risks of homelessness, exploitation and destitution for those with NRPF.

• The 'hostile environment' creates a culture of fear and confusion around accessing services and support: 58% of migrants who had NRPF said they would be afraid to access healthcare because they feared being charged for their care or having their data shared with the Home Office.

With access to the public safety net needed now more than ever, JCWI is calling on the government to suspend NRPF.

The report states: "NRPF has been pushing migrants into abject poverty for years, but with rising job losses and lost income during this crisis, many families have left at risk of destitution. The cost of housing families in these circumstances is passed on from the mainstream welfare support system to local authorities who are legally obliged to respond to the growing requests from destitute families. The government must urgently suspend NRPF. This is vital to protect people from reaching this point of crisis and to safeguard the country's recovery from COVID-19."

Satbir Singh, JCWI chief executive, told The National: "Almost a year on from the pandemic, it's a scandal that tens of thousands of families are still excluded from the public safety net which has kept so many of us secure."