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Deprivation and the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition

This Migration Observatory briefing examines the UK’s ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) condition, which applies to people on temporary immigration statuses, and prevents access – in most cases – to state-funded welfare. It examines the likely number of migrants that have the NRPF condition attached to their immigration status and their characteristics, including how many are at risk of destitution.

Key points:

  • At the end of 2022, about 2.6 million people held visas that typically have NRPF, substantially up from previous years.
  • At the end of 2022, the top nationalities in visa categories with NRPF were India (665,000), China (316,000), Nigeria (268,000), Pakistan (147,000) and Hong Kong (121,000).
  • EU citizens who moved to the UK after 31 December 2020 under the new immigration system (84,000 at the end of 2022) have NRPF attached to their status.
  • All residents with irregular immigration statuses are subject to the NRPF condition. There are no official statistics about the size of this group, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Among recently arrived migrants – the group most likely to have NRPF – just under 100,000 live in economically vulnerable households (where all working-age adults are inactive, unemployed, or in low or low-medium skilled jobs) with dependent children.
  • Recently arrived migrants from Bangladesh (27%), Pakistan (21%), and Iran (18%) have the highest likelihood of living in a deprived household.
  • An estimated 10% of non-EU citizens with less than five years of residence receive public benefits (which is allowed e.g. if they are a refugee or are in a family with a UK citizen or person with recourse to public funds), compared to 25% of UK nationals.
  • There were 2,500 successful applications to lift the NRPF condition per year in 2021 and 2022, which is comparable to pre-Covid years.

Find out more about NRPF and download the briefing.