The Home Office has always had a process where you can apply to access public funds if your circumstances have changed. That process is so very important in these uncertain times and at J M Wilson Solicitors we thought it was worth sharing.
Anyone who is in the UK with leave to remain not allowing access to public funds, the most common in our experience are those under the family and private routes, being 5 years or 10 years, can change the condition of their status, to allow them to have recourse to public funds.
Currently, the Home Office does not allow you to access public funds in the UK if you are residing in the UK.
However, due to the current situation, the Home Office has relaxed this rule to help those, who are in such financial hardship that would make either destitute, or if they have accommodation, they cannot meet their own essential living needs.
What visa category is the family or private life?
The following routes are:
- 30 months leave to remain, granted on the basis of being a partner (spouse, subsisting partner and civil partner) or
- 30 months leave to remain on the basis of being in the UK, as the parent of a British citizen or a child who has been living in the UK for 7 years or more or
- 30 months leave to remain on the basis of living in the UK for more than half your life and aged between 18-24 years old or
- 30 months leave to remain on the basis residing in the UK for more than 20 years or
- 30 months leave to remain under Article 8, Human Rights
How do I know that I have a visa under this category?
When you were granted a BRP (biometric residence permit) under one of these categories, you would have also received a letter from the Home Office, which confirms the visa type issued. It is important to check this before you apply.
I know I have the right visa but how do I know if I am eligible for recourse to public funds?
You will have to meet one of the conditions below to apply;
- You will have to demonstrate that you are suffering from financial hardship, such as destitution (you do not have accommodation or you have accommodation but cannot meet other essential needs), or your financial circumstances have recently changed, due to the current climate or
- Your child would be at risk, due to the change in your income or
- You may have exceptional circumstances that have recently become apparent
Do I need to provide evidence that my circumstances have changed?
You must try to provide as much evidence about your financial hardship, which can include the following;
- Your BRP
- 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 the 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 the 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
This is not a complete list, as the documents are specific to your particular circumstances. The more evidence you have about your financial problems the clearer it will be for the Home Office to make a decision. We suggest that you provide complete information, where possible, from when the hardship began to the present day.
How do I apply?
You can apply online, using the following link – https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/change-of-conditions
Is this free?
Yes it is free to apply
Is it hard to complete the form?
The form is straight forward and self-explanatory. It asks many questions about your finances, so it is important to have documentary evidence listed above to hand and that you have prepared a table to breakdown your expenditures and income.
How long will I have to wait for a decision?
There are no set timeframes provided by the Home Office, but reasonable efforts will be made to respond promptly, as they know people are struggling
How long will I be able to continue to have access to public funds?
There is no timeframe provided by the Home Office, as to when they will suspend this scheme.
If I get refused, would that affect my current status?
If the Home Office refuse your application, it should not affect your current status in the UK. It would only mean that you would not be able to access public funds.
If I am on the 5-year route and my application is granted to access public funds, can I continue on the 5-year route?
Unfortunately, this is where the Home Office go wrong. Anyone who would like to change their status so they can access public funds, would automatically be transferred to the 10-year route AND you would have to restart your residency again under the 10-year route towards settlement. Therefore, it will take longer for you to obtain a settlement.
We believe that this is unfair and does not assist those who would have ordinarily been able to qualify under the 5-year route. You would have to give up a lot of years that you may have already accumulated towards settlement (Indefinite leave to remain), in order to have access to public funds.
We welcome this initiative by the Home Office. However, you should be aware of one thing. For those who are under the 5-year route, this change would adversely affect them, since it would put them on the 10-year route and the time you have spent on the 5-year route would not be counted. It would, therefore, take longer to obtain settlement (Indefinite leave to remain) and thus they would end up spending longer under this category.
If you do have any questions or queries then please do contact us by email [email protected] or using our webchat facility on our website.