This guidance is intended to provide a reference for local authorities in England to use in order to apply statutory duties and powers in relation to providing housing and financial support to vulnerable adults who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

This guidance provides information on the specific considerations that must be made when assessing and meeting needs of person with NRPF under the Care Act 2014, applying discretionary powers, and implementing exclusions to support that affect people with certain nationalities and immigration status types. Practitioners must in all cases adhere to the Department of Health’s Care and support statutory guidance, referred to here as ‘the Statutory Guidance’.

Social care is a devolved power and the Care Act 2014 applies to England only. The immigration legislation referred to applies to the UK so local authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may find this guidance useful in helping establish how to implement the exclusions and manage NRPF cases, but will need to refer to the relevant devolved social care legislation to find out how to assess and meet need:

  • Section 35 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
  • Sections 12 and 13A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968
  • Articles 7 and 15 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972

For information specific to Wales and Scotland, please refer to the respective briefings by the Welsh Refugee Council and COSLA:

1.1 Who has NRPF?

No recourse to public funds (NRPF) applies to people who are ‘subject to immigration control’ and, as a result of this, have no entitlement to certain welfare benefits, homelessness assistance and an allocation of social housing through the council register.

The definition of ‘subject to immigration control’ is set out in section 115 (9) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and applies to people with the immigration status types specified in the table below.

A non-EEA national who… Examples
Requires leave to enter or remain in the UK but does not have it
  • Visa overstayer
  • Illegal entrant
Has leave to enter or remain in the UK which is subject to a condition that they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF)
  • Spouse of a British citizen or settled person
  • Tier 4 student and their dependants
  • Leave to remain under family or private life rules – see note A
Has leave to enter or remain in the UK that is subject to a maintenance undertaking
  • Adult dependent relative of a British citizen or person with settled status – see note B

People with the following types of immigration status will have recourse to public funds:

  • Indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit (apart from an adult dependent relative – see note B)
  • Right of abode
  • Exempt from immigration control
  • Refugee status
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Discretionary leave to remain, for example:
    • Leave granted to a person who has received a conclusive grounds decision that they are a victim of trafficking or modern day slavery
    • Destitution domestic violence concession
  • Limited leave to remain granted under family and private life rules where the person is accepted by the Home Office as being destitute – see note A
  • UASC leave


A. People with leave to remain granted under the family and private life rules, or outside of the rules, who are on a 10- year settlement route will have the NRPF condition imposed unless they can demonstrate to the Home Office that they are destitute, in which case, recourse to public funds will be granted. They may also apply for their leave to be varied by applying to the Home Office for a change of conditions in order for the NRPF condition to be removed.

B. An adult dependent relative of a British citizen or person with settled status will have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK with a prohibition on claiming public funds for a period of five years, although they may apply for non-means tested benefits during this period. Once five years has passed, or if the person who made the undertaking has died, they will have full recourse to public funds.

When a person has leave to remain with NRPF, ‘no public funds’ will be written on their immigration documents, for example a Biometric Residence Permit or Home Office letter.

If there is no such statement then it can be assumed that a person does have recourse to public funds, although they would need to satisfy the relevant benefit or housing eligibility requirements in order to access these.

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their non-EEA family members (who are lawfully present by having a right to reside or derivative right to reside in the UK) are not ‘subject to immigration control’ under section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. They are not excluded from claiming benefits and housing assistance. However, where they are ineligible for these because they fail the right to reside and/or habitual residence tests, they are often referred to as having NRPF. Immigration documentation issued to non-EEA family members with a right to reside or derivative right to reside will not make any reference to public funds.

For more information, see sections:

1.2 What are ‘public funds’?

Section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules specifies the welfare benefits that a person who is subject to immigration control will be excluded from claiming:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Child benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Council tax benefit
  • Council tax reduction
  • Disability living allowance
  • Discretionary support/ welfare payment made by a local authority
  • Domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)
  • Housing benefit
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment & support allowance
  • Income support
  • Personal independence payment
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Social fund payment: budgeting loan, sure start maternity grant, funeral payment, cold weather payment and winter fuel payment
  • State pension credit
  • Universal credit
  • Working tax credit

Section 118 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 excludes a person subject to immigration control from being entitled to access an allocation of social housing through the council register and homelessness assistance.

There are several exceptions to the rules regarding public funds, which are set out in the Home Office Modernised Guidance on Public Funds. This means that a person who has leave to remain with NRPF may be able to claim certain benefits without this affecting their immigration status when they:

  • are a national of a country that has a reciprocal arrangement with the UK;
  • have an EEA national family member, including a British citizen;
  • make a joint claim for tax credits with a partner who has recourse to public funds; or
  • have indefinite leave to enter or remain as an adult dependent relative during the first five years they are in the UK (during which time they can claim non-means tested benefits).

There are many publicly funded services that are not classed as public funds under section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Therefore, a person with NRPF may be able to access such services when the relevant eligibility criteria are satisfied, although these may include requirements relating to nationality or immigration status.

Assistance provided under social services legislation is not a public fund for immigration purposes but some groups of people with NRPF will only be able to get certain types of assistance if this is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights or EU treaty rights.

For more information, see sections:

1.3 Good practice points

Local authorities need to adopt a consistent, lawful and efficient response when assisting people with NRPF. The following good practice points have been established through our work over the last decade with partner authorities and agencies:

  • A specialist and targeted response is required to administer services effectively; ensure there is an identified lead practitioner or team to deal with NRPF cases.
  • Local authorities lacking a specialist NRPF worker should ensure that staff undertaking needs assessments for people with NRPF are adequately supported because any practitioner carrying out an assessment under the Care Act 2014 must have: ‘the skills, knowledge and competence to carry out the assessment in question and is appropriately trained’, and where knowledge is lacking, ‘must consult a person who has expertise in relation to the condition or other circumstances of the individual whose needs are being assessed in any case where it considers that the needs of the individual concerned require it to do so’.
  • Establishing internal protocols and having regard for the legislation and case law referenced in this guidance will help ensure that NRPF cases are identified at point of referral and dealt with consistently. This may include how discretionary powers are exercised towards particular groups, for example, pregnant women without children.
  • Provide an interpreter if this is required.
  • The requirement to undertake a Care Act needs assessment is based on an appearance of need and is not dependent on the person’s immigration status. A person should not be refused assistance solely because they have NRPF (because this in itself does not exclude them from social services assistance), or because the local authority does not receive funding from central government to provide support to people with NRPF.
  • When support is provided, this should be reviewed regularly and steps taken to resolve the case; this may involve working in partnership with the Home Office.
  • Obtain immigration status information and monitor caseloads and expenditure using NRPF Connect, which will also inform the Home Office of local authority involvement in case. This information contributes to the only national data source on NRPF service provision.
  • Inform the person how and why information about them may be shared with other parties, including the Home Office, and confirm this by written agreements. Permission will be required in order to share or obtain information from legal representatives and voluntary sector agencies.

A local authority will usually establish whether it has a duty to provide support to an adult with NRPF by undertaking two steps:

  • Pre-assessment screening – establishing the facts of the case prior to assessment
  • Assessing need – determining eligibility for the provision of services

For more information, see sections: