UK Policy Briefings
2020 Briefing: Migrant women and social security
Date Posted: Monday 9th March 2020
Migrant womenNo Recourse to Public FundsSocial Security
- Most migrants are barred from accessing public funds under the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition stamped on their passports. This creates problems for many women who are on family visas and are financially and economically dependent on their partners, who may face destitution if the relationship breaks down. They also risk becoming undocumented as their visa depends on the relationship.
- The majority of people who are destitute with NRPF are employed and trying to support themselves through work but are in insecure low-paid jobs like cleaning and in the care sector. Many will be on zero-hours contracts with no guaranteed wage.
- If a relationship breaks down, women are more likely to take on the role of primary and sole carer. If a woman is a stay-at-home mother previously, she may not have the skills and experience, including language, for employment. Having no recourse to public funds will leave many women in this situation with no income at all.
- There is some support for destitute migrants but these only cover families with children and asylum seekers / refugees and it is not easy to apply for.
- The disproportionate impact of the NRPF policy on women, disabled people, pregnant women and elderly people was found to amount to indirect discrimination against these groups.