This brief guide tells you about the support you can expect to receive from Croydon Council if you have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
What we do, who we work with and how we might help
We work with people who are subject to immigration control and have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) as a condition of their immigration status. These groups of people are mainly asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers with health and social care needs, people unlawfully present in the UK (e.g. overstayers) and people who have leave to remain in the UK with NRPF conditions attached to their leave.
Having NRPF means that a person is not entitled to welfare benefits; public housing; or financial support from the Home Office. Some benefits and state services are however not classified as ‘public funds’ and so may be accessed; this includes support from social services; primary healthcare; compulsory psychiatric care; emergency medical treatment and education for children up to the age of 18.
There are a few European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and people who have been granted refugee status by another EEA State, who would not normally be able to access public funds due to housing or welfare eligibility criteria. Where there is no duty on the authority to provide support, we may signpost you to the relevant agencies for advice and assistance.
If people are eligible for support from us, we can provide temporary financial support through the provision of accommodation and / or subsistence monies and / or social care support to people who need it. Please note that accommodation will be dependent upon availability at the time and that it is unlikely to be in London or South East England, due to the shortage of housing in these areas.
We are able to direct people to specialist help and support if they may have been subjected to family or domestic violence or are victims of trafficking / modern slavery.
This is a complex area of work which involves the interaction between immigration, children’s, adult social care and human rights law.
What can you expect from our service?
You will receive a humane, fair and respectful response from our service. We will seek a solution to a person's or family's destitution but must not act outside our legal duties and discretions / powers. We will try to ensure that we explain our processes and the potential outcome of your case to you. If there is anything which is unclear, or if you would like to have access to an interpreter or have an advocate present, we will do our best to assist.
Are you eligible for support from us?
We will check to see if you might be eligible for our service. We will ask you questions about your situation and ask to see relevant documents. We also ask that you give us consent to share your personal information with other organisations so that we can work with them effectively.
Items that we consider include:
- whether, we as a council have territorial responsibility for you; or if not, whether you have urgent needs that we need to respond to straight away, before we redirect you to the council responsible for helping you or to other relevant agencies for assistance and advice;
- your immigration status and whether you have no recourse to public funds;
- whether you are excluded from support under legislation and if so carry out a human rights assessment to establish if the Council has an obligation to provide support to you to avoid breaching your human rights;
- whether you are destitute i.e. unable to provide food and / or accommodation;
- how you have been living up until now and your support networks;
- your physical health, mental health and care needs.
Families with children and adults with care needs are then allocated an NRPF Immigration worker and a social worker who will carry out further assessments to establish your support needs. If your situation appears urgent, we may provide temporary support before these assessments are completed 'without prejudice'; this means that we have no obligation to continue with this support, if we later find that you do not qualify.
We may give you information about, or put you in touch with other organisations which might be of help to you, both to those we continue to work with and those who we are unable to provide a service to.
We cannot provide immigration advice and will always encourage you to seek advice from a solicitor or other person qualified and registered to give immigration advice. However, through our link with the Home Office via the NRPF Connect system, we are often able to receive direct information from the Home Office regarding your immigration application and status.
We can accept referrals from professionals, or the individuals or families themselves.
What can you do to help us?
- Be open and honest with us; tell us the truth, tell us about your situation and answer our questions fully.
- Keep letters, bank statements and documents safely and have them ready to show us when we ask for them.
- Stay in contact with your NRPF Immigration worker and social worker; and contact them by email if this is possible.
- If you have news about your immigration / asylum application please tell us straight away.
- Keep all appointments with us.
- Keep all appointments as required by the Home Office.
- Take legal advice about your immigration status.
- If you are at risk of losing your accommodation, please speak to us as soon as you can, before you have to leave.
- Seek and accept support from your own network of family, friends, faith groups, charities and other organisations.
Who are we?
The Immigration and Asylum Support Service (IASS) is organised into four teams;
- NRPF Emergency Rapid Response
- NRPF Immigration
- NRPF Adult
- NRPF Children.
The service is staffed by NRPF immigration workers, social workers and a team manager.
The NRPF Emergency Rapid Response Team responds to enquiries from the public and offers information on services required. The NRPF Immigration Team assesses, reviews and provides immigration support through case working. The NRPF Adult Team works with adults at risk and plays a key role in helping them to take control of and to improve their lives. The NRPF Children Team works with children and families to provide targeted early help services to significantly improve the outcome for the child, where no safeguarding issues have been identified following an assessment of needs. Where safeguarding issues are identified the NRPF Children Team refers the family to the Croydon Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
We have partnerships with other services and organisations and work closely with Croydon children and families services, Croydon adult social care, the Home Office and the South London Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust who provide a wide range of mental health and substance misuse services.
Where can you find us?
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
What are our opening hours?
Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm apart from Bank Holidays when we are closed.
How can you contact us?
Through the Council’s main telephone number 020 8726 6500; please ask for the Immigration and Asylum Support Service.
Or Email: Referral.firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can come in to Access Croydon at Bernard Weatherill House and ask to see someone from our team. We are often busy and we may not be able to see you straight away and so would advise you to contact us beforehand to arrange an appointment. Please also note that Access Croydon closes at 4pm.
What can you do if we are closed, you need help in an emergency and you are worried about someone’s safety?
You can still telephone 020 8726 6500 and you will be directed to someone you can speak to.