Dear Sir David,
On 22 June last year, you kindly replied to a complaint from me about the Home Office’s refusal to answer straightforward questions about the numbers of people being granted Leave to Remain with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). As your letter pointed out, NRPF “has been a significant focus of attention in past months yet data and statistics to inform the discussion are lacking.” Subsequently, the Home Office began to publish quarterly data on applications to have the NRPF condition lifted. This was at least a step in the right direction.
Over 2,000 applications to have NRPF lifted were refused in 2020. Conversations with my constituents and with the Unity Project – a charity based in North London which supports migrants with NRPF – suggest that most applications for administrative review after refusal are successful. This raises the question: why are so many refused in the first place?
On 30 June I tabled parliamentary written question 24833 to the Home Office: what proportion of the administrative reviews applied for, in cases where Destitution Change of Conditions Applications have been rejected, have succeeded in overturning the rejection in each quarter since the third quarter of 2017. On 8 July, the Minister answered: “There is no formal right to an administrative review of Change of Conditions decisions. However, a form of review was introduced as a pilot for Change of Conditions rejections in February 2020 and is ongoing. The data relating to these reviews is not held centrally and is not currently captured in publishable form.”
On 1 July, I tabled question 25711: what the principal reasons are for which Destitution Change of Conditions applications have been rejected since March 2020; and if she will make a statement. On 6 July, the Minister answered: We cannot provide the data that you have requested because this information is not readily available and would require a manual examination of all Change of Conditions cases within the range to establish whether the data requested is held and would meet the quality requirements for release.
These questions seem to me routine enquiries about basic Home Office responsibilities. Does the Home Office not have an obligation to provide answers?
STEPHEN TIMMS MP