Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 34, September 5, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Defending the Rights of All

Addressing Plight of Families with NRPF through Covid-19 Crisis

The Immigration Act brought in under Theresa May's government and the so-called "hostile environment" policies that were consolidated by her continue to have a detrimental effect on migrant communities and their ability to access housing, jobs, healthcare and welfare support in Britain. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to this by impacting both individuals and families, with some losing vital household income due to the loss of employment or being furloughed as their employment is not conducive to working remotely. This has especially impacted on those families whose right to claim benefits is blocked through NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) and are at risk of contracting or spreading the virus due to working conditions, or who alternatively face destitution.

A briefing by the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) explains:

"People with No Recourse to Public Funds attached to their visas are particularly vulnerable because:

Undocumented children and their parents are at even greater risk, MRN points out. Mayor of London research estimates that 100,000 live in London, many staying with friends or working informally. Their safety is even more limited.

MRN says: "Migrant communities are also extremely diverse and support services cannot offer blanket advice without understanding the individuals and their communities. It is extremely difficult to navigate the current immigration system and access support services from organisations that understand your particular set of circumstances, be it language, physical, mental, religious/cultural barriers."

The Migrant Rights Network is working in partnership with RAMFEL and Olmec to help support these diverse and vulnerable communities by offering immigration, employment and mental health and well-being advice and support. RAMFEL (Refugee & Migrant Forum of Essex and London) is a charity that supports vulnerable migrants to access justice and that provides vital support in moments of individual crisis. Olmec is a BME-led Social Enterprise which champions race equality through economic and social justice.

MRN also aims to help migrants affirm their rights and to assert them in eight key areas of everyday life: banking, driving, education, employment, health, housing, social services, and detention and deportation and also how to advocate for themselves.

It is unconscionable that migrants, as human beings, should have their rights denied. The rights of all must be defended, and the rights of migrants respected.


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