Tension Between Immigration Law And Children In Need
Immigrant families who find themselves excluded from benefits as a result of the government clampdown on what they see as benefit tourists raises issues for local authorities in how they are supposed to treat children.
Research by COMPAS into families who are excluded from welfare benefits under the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) rules has led to a direct collision with the basic requirement to promote the welfare of ‘children in need’.
Local authorities are the ones left to deal with families that often find themselves without food and shelter and end up living on the streets. The problem is likely to increase in line with the number of immigrants entering the UK. The number of families supported by local authorities went up 19% according to 2012/13 figures and cost a total of £28 million.
Local authorities have provided families with accommodation in B and Bs and the private rented sector so that basic needs can be provided. However the level of support families receive is said to be below that of refused asylum seekers.
23% of the families concerned had at least one child who were British citizens and the vast majority of families (63%) had overstayed their visas.