NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) is a condition applied to most migrants, ensuring exclusion from welfare benefits. However, migrant families may present to their Council seeking help under Section 17 of the Children Act, to protect their children from destitution. This support is provided from Council budgets.
Incentivised by austerity, many London councils are neglecting their legal duty, prioritising gatekeeping over children’s safety, and leaving migrant families with young children street homeless. Antagonistic practices including embedding On-Site Immigration Officers within the council deter migrants from claiming support. This practice of embedding OSIO’s in local councils was designed by the Hostile Environment Working Group to increase Data harvesting opportunities with local authorities.
Eight of the nine councils with OSIO’s are London boroughs with a Labour majority.
For decades, Labour has failed to challenge right-wing anti-migrant narratives, allowing a culture of division and scapegoating to pervade UK politics. The appropriate response to brutal Tory cuts is to put a spotlight on the government responsible, not withdraw support from society’s most vulnerable.
We call on Labour-run London councils to:
- Immediately instigate the removal of any embedded Immigration Officers, and end collusion with Hostile Environment initiatives
- Where there is evidence of hostile policy, immediately instigate an independent review of the NRPF Department
- Ensure that any future policies are fair, prioritising the safeguarding of children
- Campaign to reverse cuts made by central government
- Lobby for central government to reimburse councils for Section 17 funding, and ultimately end all use of NRPF against migrants.