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‘I've come to the UK from abroad’
> ‘I am from outside the European Economic Area’

If you are from outside the European Economic Area you may well find that you are not entitled to the benefits you need. Here are some common examples of when this happens:

The problem is that in these circumstances the Home Office says that you are a ‘person subject to immigration control’ (PSIC): people subject to immigration control do not normally have the right to any of the benefits I talk about in this site. The Home Office describes this by saying that you have ‘no recourse to public funds’.

If you have any doubt about whether this applies to you (and you are not seeking asylum) check the visa stamp in your passport: if it says ‘no recourse to public funds’ then you’ll know that it does. And this situation will continue until the Home Office decides (if you’re lucky) to give you Refugee Status, or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or Exceptional Leave to Remain (ELR).

Actually, what I've just said is technically wrong. You are entitled to contributory benefits, like contribution based Employment and Support Allowance, or the State Retirement Pension, but as you need to have worked for a number of years to get these this isn’t going to help you very much, especially as it is likely that the Home Office has said that you are not allowed to work.

If you are claiming asylum, you may have the right to help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) or - sometimes - Social Services, but an immigration specialist would need to advise you about this.

There are some complications, some good and some bad. Here are the main ones…

Complications that can help

A Complication that can be a problem

icon-key1.jpgSome people come to the UK on 'Family Reunion' visas: this happens when one member of a family gets Refugee status in the UK and then arranges for family members who are still abroad to join him or her. In this case the person in the UK is called also called the sponsor. However the situation is completely different to the one I've been talking about above.

If you come to the UK on a Refugee Family Reunion visa no maintenance undertaking is needed and you are entitled to benefits straight away.

The DWP frequently get this wrong and confuse the two kinds of sponsor. If they refuse you because of this you should challenge them, and seek specialist advice if you can.