No Recourse Fund
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Major Victory on No Recourse to Public Funds
On 16 July 2010, the Home Secretary, Teresa May, announced that the Home Office pilot scheme, the Sojourner Project, which gives women with immigration and no recourse to public funds (NRPF) problems access to housing and subsistence costs for up to 40 days for those who apply to remain in the UK under the ‘Domestic Violence Rule,’ will be extended from September 2009 to March 2011. She also stated that the Government was committed to finding a long-term solution to the problem. And to this end, from April 2012, the government will introduce a scheme to enable women who make applications to remain in the UK under the Domestic Violence Rule to have access to limited welfare benefits pending their applications.
Southall Black Sisters has been campaigning for reform on NRPF for 20 years. In 2007, we established the ‘Campaign to Abolish No Recourse to Public Funds,’ a campaign involving a coalition of over 30 leading human rights and women’s organisations. The Campaign has been working with the Home Office and UKBA on developing and monitoring the pilot scheme, training UKBA officers on how to respond to domestic violence applications and lobbying for a permanent solution to the no recourse problem. We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement, and continue to call on the government to reform the benefit and immigration rules to exempt all women subjected to domestic violence, abuse and exploitation in the context of marriage, employment or trafficking from the NRPF requirement. We also call on the government to continue to work with us to develop workable and humane proposals for reform.