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Public Funds Part 3: Change of conditions to allow access to public funds

In this third post, following on from Public Funds Part 1: Public Funds and Coronavirus and Public Funds Part 2: Claiming Child Benefit we consider how to apply for a change of conditions to allow access to public funds, for individuals who are in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain subject to a condition of having no recourse to public funds.

No Recourse To Public Funds Condition

Paragraph GEN.1.11A of Appendix FM provides that  certain types of leave granted under that Appendix (those on the basis of exceptional circumstances or paragraph EX.1 and those relating to children) will normally be granted subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds, unless the applicant has provided the decision-maker with:

(a) satisfactory evidence that the applicant is destitute as defined in section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; or

(b) satisfactory evidence that there are particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of a child of a parent in receipt of a very low income.

When leave has been granted subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds, an application should be made to the Home Office to lift that condition before public funds can be applied for and accessed lawfully. The Home Office provides for two circumstances in which a person can apply for a change of conditions:

  • since being granted leave to remain your financial circumstances have changed and you have become destitute, or there are now particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child on account of your very low income, or there are now exceptional circumstances in your case relating to your financial circumstances; or
  • you were destitute, or there were particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child on account of your very low income, or there were exceptional circumstances in your case relating to your financial circumstances, at the time your application was being considered, but you failed to provide evidence of this and you now wish to send in this evidence

Eligibility to Apply for a Change of Conditions

Not all forms of leave allow for a change of conditions to allow access to public funds and the Home Office has set out eligibility criteria. You’re eligible to apply for a change of conditions to allow access to public funds if:

  • you have leave to remain under the 10 year partner, parent or private life route, where the applicant claims that refusal of that application for leave to remain would breach their rights (or the rights of other specified persons) under ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life)
  • you have leave to remain on the basis of other ECHR right

You can also be eligible to apply if you have leave to remain under the 5-year partner/parent route. If you’re accepted you would be considered to have moved on to the 10-year route to settlement and as such any future applications for leave will be considered under the 10-year route. However, when you come to reapply if you feel that you again meet the criteria under the 5-year route you should be aware that any leave you had previously accumulated under the 5-year route will not count towards your new 5-year period.

You’ll qualify for an amendment to your conditions of leave only if:

  • you’re destitute;
  • there are particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child on account of your very low income; or
  • there are exceptional circumstances in your case relating to your financial circumstances

A person is destitute if:

  • they do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not their other essential living needs are met); or
  • they have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet their other essential living needs

Following a recent change, applications for a change of conditions can be made online. You would need to provide your valid BRP and include documentary evidence to demonstrate you meet the policy criteria for being granted recourse to public funds. The burden is on the applicant to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the decision-maker that they meet the policy criteria.

Evidence in support of a change of conditions application

The Home Office policy provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of relevant documentary evidence to provide when applying for a change of conditions to allow access to public funds:

You should provide evidence of your financial circumstances and living arrangements. This should include documents that are applicable to your individual circumstances which could include the following:

  • 6 months bank statements for all accounts held by all members of your household, even those belonging to children or ones that are rarely used. These should be fully annotated to explain significant/regular transactions
  • recent payslips accounting for the last 6 months
  • breakdown of monthly income and expenditure
  • recent tenancy agreement or mortgage statement
  • recent utility and other relevant bills
  • recent P45 / P60
  • letter confirming duration of employment, the hours worked and salary (the person writing should state their position in the company and provide contact details)
  • recent letter from Local Authority confirming that support is being provided
  • recent letter from registered charity or other organisation providing support
  • recent letters from family or friends who are providing support, giving full details regarding the extent of this and how often it is provided
  • recent letter confirming that you or your spouse or partner is in receipt of public funds

The policy also states that you’ll need to explain what your current financial circumstances are, how these may have changed, and how you’re currently maintaining yourself. As a result, it would be helpful for the application to include a witness statement or cover letter explaining your financial circumstances and the reasons you meet the policy criteria with reference to the documentary evidence included to demonstrate this.

The policy states that there are no service standards apply to this type of application, however caseworkers will make reasonable efforts to decide such requests promptly, particularly when a child or vulnerable applicant is involved.

Upon a successful application, the applicant may be invited to enrol their biometrics at a Service & Support Centre, for which they may qualify for travel assistance. The applicant will then be issued with a new BRP.

Please note that this article refers to the policy of no recourse to public funds as it stands on the date of publication; this may be subject to change following the recent High Court challenge heard on 7 May 2020.

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