21 Jan CROWDJUSTICE PAGE: Help stop our government punishing families hardest hit by pandemic
The Unity Project is fundraising to bring an urgent legal challenge against the Home Office to stop their damaging and discriminatory NRPF policy.
Our clients, The Unity Project, are a small charity set up four years ago to support families facing destitution as a result of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) policy introduced in 2012 by then Home Secretary Theresa May.
The Unity Project have today started a Crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to bring an urgent legal challenge against the Home Office to challenge the NRPF policy. The Unity Project is stepping in for an individual claimant, whose case settled with the Home Office openly agreeing to exercise discretion in her favour. The Unity Project is taking over as the claimant in order to push this to trial to achieve systemic policy change.
Since 2012, anyone granted ‘limited leave to remain’ by the Home Office has been blocked from accessing the welfare safety net, by having a NRPF condition put on their immigration status. They can only claim essential support, like child or disability benefit, by showing serious financial hardship and making an application to the Home Office for their NRPF condition to be lifted.
Over 1.4 million people in the UK are subject to NRPF; most of them are black or from minority ethnic backgrounds. Many have British-born children. Since the pandemic, the number of people applying to the Home Office to remove the NRPF condition because they can no longer support themselves has increased six-fold.
The Unity Project, through their work, see its devastating impact daily – where parents doing low wage jobs, or whose work has dried up because of Covid- 19, cannot make ends meet, however hard they try. The Unity Project has seen that children are going hungry and living in unsuitable, unsafe housing as a result.
The Government has ignored calls to withdraw this policy and end the hardship and discrimination directly caused by this policy. Instead, families who need support because of the pandemic are penalised; where applicants were previously on a five-year route to ‘settlement’ – being recognised as living permanently in the UK – the Home Office has doubled the amount of time they will have to wait, to 10 years, if they successfully apply to remove the NRPF condition having proven their poverty.
The Unity Project is now seeking to bring an urgent challenge against this further unlawful aspect of the policy, to bring an end to the punishment of those who are moved from the ‘5-year-route’ to settlement to the ‘10-year-route’ simply because they require access to public funds. However, to do this, The Unity Project need to raise money to pay court fees and protect them from any adverse legal costs arising out of the judicial review process.
The CrowdJustice page is here. Please donate and share widely to support this important case.
The Unity Project successfully raised the money needed to start their legal challenge! From The Unity Project:
“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s made this case possible by supporting our crowdfunding campaign – the strength of your support shows how urgently change is needed.”