Lewisham Council Homepage Skip navigation

No recourse to public funds

Information for social workers and professionals about no recourse to public funds, our procedures, duties and responsibilities.
Lewisham is in National lockdown: Stay at home restrictions

Find out about the COVID-19 restrictions.

What is no recourse to public funds?

No recourse to public funds (NRPF) is a condition imposed on someone because of their immigration status. A person will have no recourse to public funds if they are subject to immigration control. This means they require permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

What are public funds?

Public funds are welfare benefits and public housing. Welfare benefits might include:

  • attendance allowance
  • disability living allowance
  • personal independence payment
  • carer’s allowance
  • child benefit
  • universal credit
  • income support
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • council tax benefit
  • council tax reduction
  • state pension credit.

See a complete list of public funds.


There are exceptions for nationals of: Algeria, FYR Macedonia, Morocco, San Marino, Tunisia and Turkey. This is because of agreements these countries have with the UK.

Who are families with no recourse to public funds?

Families with no recourse to public funds have no legal entitlement to financial help from the Government.

These families may:

  • have refugee status from another European Economic Area (EEA) country other than the UK or be dependents of people in the UK who have refugee status from an EEA country other than the UK
  • be citizens of an EEA country other than the UK or the dependents of people who are citizens of an EEA country other than the UK
  • be failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights and have failed to cooperate with removal directions
  • be unlawfully in the UK but are not asylum-seekers – for example, people who have overstayed their leave to remain, those who have been trafficked into the country or entered illegally
  • have been granted limited leave to remain on the condition that they have no recourse to public funds
  • have been granted discretionary leave to remain
  • be on student visas and are unable to work.

This list is not complete.


Refugees are eligible for public funds. For more information, please contact Action for Refugees Lewisham.

Our responsibilities

We have duties towards all children, young people and families regardless of their status. We have to carry out:

  • a ‘child in need’ assessment for all children under 18 years old who are in families, where there may be concerns about a child’s welfare and/or safety under the Children Act 1989. This includes any issues that may indicate that the child is, or has been, trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery.
  • a ‘child in need’ assessment for all separated children under the age of 18 and help them in line with the Children Act 1989. Separated children are those under 18 who are outside their country of origin and separated from both parents, or from their previous primary caregiver.
  • an assessment of an adult for community care services under the Care Act 2014 where the adult's need for our services has not arisen only due to destitution and/or to avoid a breach of the adult's human rights.

We are restricted by legislation in what help we offer to some families with no recourse to public funds. Some of them are not eligible for support from us – accommodation or adult social care, except where to do so is necessary to prevent a breach of their treaty or convention rights.

We might be able to help with:

  • travel to leave the UK to people with dependents under 18 years
  • temporary accommodation to people with dependents under 18 years waiting for their travel arrangements to happen
  • temporary accommodation to people who are unlawfully in the UK with dependents under 18 who are awaiting instructions for removal.

How we work with families with NRPF

We hear about families with NRPF when:

  • they self-refer without an appointment
  • they self-refer or are referred by an external agency, by appointment.

When we are working with families with NRPF we will consider:

  • existing forms of help in the community, voluntary groups or social networks
  • the possibility of a child in need. This may include health needs affecting the parent/s or children or child protection issues, e.g. neglect, domestic violence and abuse.

What you can do if you have NRPF

You can apply for change of conditions of leave to allow access to public funds if your circumstances change.

You can also get help from NACCOM, a charity and national network preventing destitution amongst people seeking asylum, refugees and other migrants.

How to self-refer?

You can self-refer your family by visiting our Customer Service Centre in Catford.


Email: NRPFenquiries@lewisham.gov.uk