“It is a very, very long-standing provision in this country that no recourse to public funds conditions should apply for those who, for instance, are here illegally or unlawfully”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons Liaison Committee

January 13, 2021

Johnson said, at the House of Commons Liaison Committee, that “It is a very, very long-standing provision in this country that no recourse to public funds conditions should apply for those who, for instance, are here illegally or unlawfully”.

Facts

This came in response to Stephen Timms’ question:

“We spoke at the Liaison Committee in May about hard-working, law-abiding families with no recourse to public funds... You said that “people who have worked hard for this country, who live and work here, should have support of one kind or another”. I think that is absolutely right, but unfortunately that is not the current policy.”

‘No recourse to public funds’ is a condition that is imposed on the visas of people in the UK with a temporary immigration status who are eligible to live and work in the country. Nearly 1.4 million people in the UK cannot access public funds due to the condition. It is not isolated to people who “are here illegally or unlawfully”, as Johnson suggested.

Verdict

Johnson’s answer to Stephen Timms’ question implied that no recourse to public funds only applies to people who were in the country illegally or unlawful.

When we approached Mr Timms, he said “the statement is misleading.  It may not strictly be untrue, because it isn’t entirely clear what he means by “no recourse to public funds conditions” – it might be argued, to be pedantic, that he isn’t talking about the No Recourse to Public Funds visa condition.  I have not attempted to have the record corrected.”

Boris Johnson was correct to say that individuals who enter the UK illegally or unlawfully are subject to ‘no recourse to public funds’. But the only example he gave concerned those who enter the UK illegally. He failed to give the full picture. 

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