No recourse to public funds

No recourse to public funds

This page has been created to help partners across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough work together to better understand, share good practice and adopt new approaches to people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

Listed below are some useful resources to help understand “no recourse”. Some resources are local and some national.  Resources will be added as they are created or discovered.

Nothing on this page constitutes legal advice. We strongly recommend that individuals have very individual legal and immigration status so it is important that, for matters of detail and individual life choices, expert advice is secured.

The page aims to help set out some definitions and local information, to help remove some of the mystery and to enable partners to focus on the relevant issues for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

You can find the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Multi-Agency Protocol Supporting People with No Recourse to Public Funds here.

What is “no recourse”?

You can find a full useful definition here.

No recourse to public funds (NRPF) is a condition imposed on someone due to their immigration status. Briefly, this means

    • People who have permission to enter or remain in the UK but on condition they do not access public funds, which will be specified on their papers. Examples: Spouse visa, student visa, limited leave granted under family or private life rules.
    • People who have permission to enter or remain in the UK, but with a ‘maintenance undertaking’. Examples: a person has indefinite leave to remain, being the adult dependent relative of a person with settled status (this usually means the dependent person cannot claim public funds for five years).
    • People who do not have permission to enter or remain in the UK. Examples: Visa over-stayers, illegal entrants.
Claiming a public fund when a person’s immigration conditions do not allow this can affect current and future immigration applications. If a person has claimed a public fund when they might not have been entitled, they should seek legal advice​ from an immigration adviser and a benefits adviser. However this only applies to certain specified public funds, so a person with NRPF can accessing some publicly-funded services, including support from social services and primary health care.

What are public funds – and what are not?

A person with no recourse to public funds cannot access benefits, homelessness assistance from the council and an allocation of social housing through the council’s register.
These services are classed as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes. You can find a more complete list on this page from the NRPF Network.
A person with no recourse may access other publicly funded services and would not be breaching their immigration conditions if they receive these. However a person’s immigration status may be a factor in whether they will be able to meet the requirements to access services.
Details of immigration requirements and entitlements for key services are set out on this page which includes more on
  • Education
  • Services for children and families
  • NHS treatment
  • Social care
  • Legal aid
  • Support for people with No Recourse to Public Funds​.

EEA nationals

EEA nationals do not have the no recourse to public funds condition imposed on them.
However, they may be prevented from claiming welfare benefits, homelessness assistance or getting a housing allocation from the council when they do not meet the eligibility criteria for these services.


EEA countries include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; finally Switzerland

Eligibility for welfare benefits and housing for EEA nationals and their family members generally relates to the basis on which the EEA national is living in the UK, for example, as a worker or jobseeker. This is often referred to as having the ‘right to reside’ or being a ‘qualified person’ or ‘exercising a treaty right’. Establishing whether an EEA national has the right to reside in the UK can be complex, as is establishing benefit eligibility. Restrictions to benefits include:

  • Three month residence requirement for income-based jobseeker’s allowance, child benefit & child tax credits.
  • Minimum earnings threshold to determine whether a person is a ‘worker’ when claiming housing benefit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, child benefit, child tax credit.
  • EEA ‘jobseekers’ are unable to claim housing benefit.

UK and Irish nationals automatically have a right to reside for the purpose of claiming benefits, but will be subject to the three month residence requirement if they have been living outside of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands prior to arriving in the UK.

Social services support for EEA nationals

In some circumstances, EEA nationals and family members of EEA nationals, who are not eligible for welfare benefits social housing, may be able to receive housing and financial assistance from social services​. This is limited to:

  • Families where there is a child in need (if the family are destitute then the child will be in need)
  • A young person who was formerly looked after by a local authority
  • An adult requiring care and support due to a disability, illness or mental health condition​

However, EEA nationals and dependents of EEA nationals may only be provided with support if this is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights or their European Treaty rights. ​This means that social services will undertake a human rights assessment to establish if support can be provided. The assessment will consider many factors, including whether:

The EEA national has the right to reside in the UK and social services would be preventing the person from exercising this right if they do not provide support
There are any legal or practical barriers preventing the person from leaving the UK, for example, a medical condition which means they cannot travel
The provision of support is necessary to prevent a breach of the person or family’s human rights
If the local authority identifies that there is a legal reason why the person or family cannot return to their country of origin, and the relevant eligibility criteria for the help that is requested are satisfied, then it is likely that support will be provided.

If the local authority concludes that there are no legal reasons preventing a person or family from returning​ to their country of origin then it may provide assistance with travel to the EEA national’s country of origin and support whilst this is being arranged.

Update on the EU settlement scheme from ADASS, February 2021 

Covid-19 Impact on submitting applications 
The application deadline for the EU settlement scheme (30th June 2021) is fast approaching.
Colleagues who are supporting adults with care and support needs with the application process need to be aware that it is taking longer to obtain ID documents due to the impact of Covid.
Many Embassies are closed, or only offering appointments on a case-by-case basis. It may be that the best route is to apply by post.
ADASS now have a dedicated web page which provides information to EUSS and links to Government Advice.
There are over 70 national grant funded organisations who can provide direct assistance to EU/EEA citizens who need help with the application process and their details can be found on our website.
We will be offering webinars about the EU Settlement Scheme on the 23/24/25th February and the 2/3/4th March 2021 – further details will be announced soon.
We also have a dedicated e-mail for EUSS enquiries –
You can find a list of National and Local organisations who can help you navigate the EU settlement scheme and can provide tailored information, advice and guidance to support EU/EEA & Swiss nationals, and their family members, here.

Resources to help

Sometimes, people needing help are not clear if they have recourse to public funds, or not. They may be EEA nationals. They may be applying for settled status but the paperwork has been held up. So it’s important to work out what their position is, and what is the problem that needs solving, so they can work out their next steps.

You can find the excellent support for migrant families toolkit, provided by the NRPF network / COMPAS here. This toolkit helps find out where migrant families can get help with housing and financial support when they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). You can use the tool whether you are a person needing help, their adviser, or local authority practitioner considering an application for social services support. You will need information about the person’s immigration status to complete the toolkit.

You can also find much more information at the NRPF network website, which we have linked to  throughout this page, here.

You can find Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Partnership Board’s SWAY here. This is a training session using narrated slides to learn more about people with No Recourse.

Some issues affected by immigration status

  • Covid-19: You can find general covid-19 messages in  number of worldwide languages at the Doctors of the World website, here.
  • Access to healthcare: you can find a poster about access to healthcare on this page – and you can download the key messages in many different languages. There are a number of different resources including videos too, so please do visit the page for more. Here is a locally produced overview of healthcare access NRPF-Access-to-Healthcare-Services-Overview.
  • Accommodation: Steps out of covid-19 emergency accommodation – Step down pathways – 2 July 2020 slides presented at a NRPF network training session.
  • Modern slavery: You can access a link about modern slavery – shared by Cambridgeshire Constabulary here.
  • Prescription charges: Factsheet about healthcare including prescriptions here. Brief note (based on the NRPF network’s factsheet) about prescription charges for people with no recourse.
  • Registering with a GP: People with No Recourse can access primary health care, so they can register with a GP. Other aspects of healthcare such as prescriptions and secondary care may not be as straightforward to access, but it is always worth seeking individual advice if this is a problem to an individual. You may need to be registered with a GP to get the covid-19 vaccine, but this should be perfectly possible for someone with No Recourse. There is more information about this, and other health service issues, here. And please visit Doctors of the World for translations, videos and other resources.
  • Effect of NRPF on children and families: Children’s Society Report “A Lifeline for All: Children and Families with No Recourse to Public Funds” here.
  • Impact of Covid-19 on immigration support: Nowhere to Turn: How immigration rules are preventing people from getting support during the coronavirus pandemic” from CAB.
  • Inclusive Cities report: NRPF and COVID slides and Research Briefing
  • Changes to government guidance in late 2020: NRPF and covid note from HDC including some changes to govt guidance.
  • Emergency food provision: Emergency-Food-Provision-Covid-19-May-2020-snapshot
  • Articles: Link to article about Covid-19 and NRPF.
  • Local survey about immigration issues and NRPF, carried out with agencies active in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in 2020 – blank survey form (pdf) to gather local information from partners and survey write-up (to be added).

Useful contacts

Here is a list partners, both local and national, who might be able to help:

Useful twitter links

    • @AppgNRPF All Party Parliamentary Group on no recourse to public funds. Not official publication or approved by the House of Commons or House of Lords
    • @NRPFNetwork Advice and representation on No Recourse to Public Funds from a national network of local authorities and voluntary sector organisations.

Task & finish group 2020