No Recourse to Public Funding – Zambrano Families

Homeless in underpass_David Holt

Recently a focused discussion was held in Birmingham on the issues of families with No Recourse to Public Funding (NRPF) in particular Zambrano* families.

Keen to share the experience of these families accessing support in Birmingham and the Black Country, the jointly organised event by Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team ASIRT brought together a number of public and third sector agencies to look how they can work together to improve policy and practice.

Chaired by Jess Phillips MP, the round-table discussion’s purpose was to:

  • understand the current approach to policy and procedures of Birmingham and Black Country local authorities of their statutory duty to provide support for the child of Zambrano carers who are UK citizens
  • raise awareness of the treatment of Zambrano carers and their children who have no recourse to public funds
  • to share better practice and identify where improvements can be made in the support and treatment of these families

Presentations were also given by:

Delegates also heard personal accounts via podcast: https://youtu.be/FDq2PnpdQtA and video: https://youtu.be/ZJxVrmcp7Bk to highlight the difficulties that some families have had, including two case studies of Hear Our Voice Case Study 1-1 and Hear Our Voice Case Study 2-1.

After contributing to the discussions many of the delegates indicated that they would continue to show support and make changes in the following ways:

Leeds University and Birmingham Community Law Centre were keen to establish a small working group to look at how data on families with NRPF can be accessed or provided to give a more accurate picture.

Greater Birmingham Advice Service indicated an interest in undertaking a mapping exercise to identify the referral, assessment and support pathway for Zambrano families in Birmingham with a similar interest by Birmingham Child Poverty Commission in identifying a collaborative pathway to support families with NRPF.

There was also an interest by several participants in looking at how an equalities and human rights impact assessment might be used to challenge the amendment in the Immigration Bill that impacts adversely on the rights of Zambrano carers.

In addition, British Association of Social Workers were interested in exploring how CPD can be used to improve understanding and knowledge of social workers in the rights and entitlements of Zambrano families.

 

Guardian headline

Here is an example of how only last week, The Guardian shared a story of Maria in an article Raped, pregnant, homeless: the grim reality of life as an asylum seeker

Having faced persecution in her homeland, Maria came to the UK looking for a new safer future. Only find that the reality is being trapped in a complex legal system that wants her to leave the UK, and during her failed asylum claims she sleeps rough in public places as she doesn’t have access to basic accommodation or funds, Section 4 (1).

However, one ill-fortuned night in 2015, the offer of shelter leads to her being drugged, raped and becoming pregnant.  With limited support from friends and charities, and at 34 weeks pregnant Maria still has no accommodation even after continued efforts to providing additional evidence to the Home Office, she is still sleeping on the streets waiting for her baby to arrive.

The awful part of this is that Maria is not alone in her ongoing battle with the Home Office which often takes years for a decision, but she has the struggle of with living with the life changing effects of being raped too.

So what happens now? The mother is not British citizen and the imminent arrival of a child with no clarity around its own legal status?

Do you have any thoughts or views you would like to share on this issue? Why not contact the Birmingham Child Poverty Commission by emailing: childpovertycommission@birmingham.gov.uk

Notes

*The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling on the case of Zambrano (C-34/09) provided that a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national who had been living and working in Belgium without a work permit, had a right to reside and to work so that his Belgian national children were not forced to leave the European Union (EU) and prevented from exercising their rights as EU citizens. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/220217/eia-zambrano-right-to-reside-and-work.pdf

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