Minister for Social Justice commits to new crisis fund for women with no recourse to public funds

Friday February 24th, 2023

By Joy Matibiri

On Wednesday 8th February at WEN Café, Catherine Fookes chaired a panel discussion on the impact the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) stipulation has on migrant women.

The Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, announced that the Welsh Government has accepted the Equality and Social Justice Committee’s recommendation to establish a public fund for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence with NRPF. Hutt committed to launching this fund in April 2023. Read on for more details, or watch the event recording here.



Wanjiku Mbugua, CEO of BAWSO

Sara Kirkpatrick, CEO Welsh Women’s Aid

Evelyn James, Diverse5050 Campaign Manager, WENWales

Joys Njini, Mentoring Project Manager, WENWales

Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister for Social Justice


Wanjiku began by explaining that No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) applies to anyone under immigration control and makes services such as income support, housing, tax credits and a range of allowances inaccessible. As CEO of BAWSO, she works to support survivors of abuse and sexual violence from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. She highlighted the vulnerability faced by migrant women due to the NRPF stipulation. In most cases, these women would have accompanied their partners on the spousal visa and are completely reliant on them. The perpetrators weaponise the NRPF rule and make it clear that if she were to report the abuse she would be deported and that if minors are involved, they would remain in the UK. This often leaves women in an extremely vulnerable situation.

Sara Kirkpatrick reinforced the need for clarity in the current policy and information regarding what support is available for these women. Though there are structures in place to support those escaping abuse to have their status altered, there is a timeliness issue which needs to be tackled.

Sara raised a call to action for a clear firewall between survivor support services and immigration control to be put in place. The need is fuelled by a lack of confidence and trust from vulnerable survivors to access services due to the threats from immigration, weaponisation of state structures by perpetrators, and survivors’ exclusion from state funds.

Evelyn James from the WEN Wales team went on to share her experience of facing homelessness as an international student following racist threats from a private landlord. Evelyn had tried to stand against the unlawfulness of her living conditions and unfair treatment. The police and council stated that they were unable to help her as her visa status allowed for no public relief.

Joys Njini, also from the WEN Wales team, has worked with a number of women with no recourse to public funds as part of the Women Seeking Sanctuary Advocacy Group Wales (WSSAG). She described the hopelessness often felt by those who support survivors of abuse and sexual violence, having met women who had remained in abusive situations due to NRPF.

In response to the unlawful treatment faced by Evelyn and others in similar situations, the Minister raised the need for police and others in public services to understand the law and the rights of those on a visa.

The Minister announced that the Welsh Government has accepted the recommendation to establish a public fund for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Welsh Government is committed to launching this fund in April 2023. She offered her reassurance of the seriousness in which the Senedd is taking the matter of NRPF and stated that she has personally raised it with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales. The Minister also emphasised that the UK Government cannot be left out of the conversation as NRPF is within their competence. She is currently a part of the ongoing intergovernmental conversation on this area.

Sara responded that the current system sends a generalised message that ‘you are not welcome here, and the only migrants we want are those who support the economy,’ a message that fails to mention that those who support the economy also still fall under the remit of NRPF. She pushed the need for a better instrument than NRPF.

The minister brought the green paper Ending Violence Against Women and Girls to attention as it covers the plans of the Welsh Government more extensively.

It was a compelling session which brought to light the appalling impact of NRPF on migrant survivors of gender-based abuse and violence. The Welsh Government’s commitment to launch a crisis fund in April 2023 is a step in the right direction to mitigating the impact of NRPF, but for as long as it remains in place the threat of exploitation and abuse hangs over migrant women. WEN Wales will continue our work with friends and partners at BAWSO, Welsh Women’s Aid and others to change this unacceptable situation.

Thank you to our panellists and all who joined us on the day.

If you missed the conversation and want to hear all this and more, watch the event recording here.