Judicial review of NRPF condition successful!

Legal Updates | News

Back in March 2023 we wrote a blog about the NRPF condition being ruled unlawful. NRPF means No Recourse to Public Funds, and is a type of condition placed on visas to limit access to certain types of benefits. Approximately 1.4 million people are thought to be affected by the NRPF condition.

On 4 October 2023, there was a judicial review of another NRPF case. In this case, the Home Office admitted that its use of the NRPF condition was unlawful. This is a win for migrants struggling with the NRPF visa condition. 

The case is called PA & Anor, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, and you can read the whole case here

This short blog explains what happened. 

What was this case about?

This case was brought by a destitute woman (‘the claimant’) and her 1 year old baby, who were denied access to public funds. The claimant arrived in the UK as a dependant on a student visa.

The Home Office refused the mother’s application to have the NRPF condition lifted. It gave the reason that it only has to exercise discretion (this means consider) to remove the NRPF condition for people with leave to remain based on family or private life under Appendix FM, paragraph 276ADE of the Immigration Rules, or with leave outside the rules. 

This means that the Home Office did not think it had to consider whether to lift the NRPF condition for students and dependants. 

Judge Saini J disagreed, and pointed out that the Home Office decision not to lift the NRPF condition was unlawful because it does have discretion to consider lifting or not imposing NRPF condition on students and dependants. 

What is next?

Following this judicial review, the Home Office accepted that the claimant was destitute and accepted her application to have the NRPF condition lifted. 

As a result of this case, the Home Office has published a new policy called OPI 1415 – you can find it attached to the end of the judgment. This explains that the Home Office does have ‘wide discretion’ to remove the NRPF condition in student cases, as well as other immigration routes. 

It says:

  • in any application involving a child the best interests of that child must be considered as a primary, although not the only consideration Section 55 Guidance

  • where an applicant, or their dependent children, cannot reasonably be expected to return to their home country NRPF must be lifted if it is established that they are destitute, or at imminent risk of destitution or there are other particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of the child or other matters.

  • where an applicant, or their dependent children, can reasonably be expected to return to their home country the expectation is that they should do so. Particularly compelling circumstances will need to be established to require the NRPF condition to be limited”.

If you are struggling with a NRPF condition on your visa, see information from the Unity Project about how to apply to have the condition lifted here. Figures from June 2023 showed that 78% of ‘Change of Conditions’ applications were successful, so it is worth making an application

This is a great result, and is another important step towards dismantling the NRPF condition, which causes huge suffering to those it affects.

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