Social Work with No Recourse to Public Fund Migrants: Obstacles and Strategies

Jonathan Lacey, Nicola Elizabeth Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPFs) are vulnerable to destitution due to the NRPF condition attached to their immigration status. In this quantitative study, fifty-five social workers in England completed an anonymous online survey identifying the obstacles faced in their practice with NRPF migrants and any strategies they developed to overcome these impediments. Informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework, the study identified four main obstacles when working with NRPF migrants: lack of resources to support NRPF migrants; lack of knowledge/skills; negative attitudes from colleagues and insufficient institutional support. Compared to their local authority counterparts, NHS social workers expressed lower levels of confidence in their knowledge and skill level, and received less specific training, organisational guidance and support in their work with NRPF migrants. A 4-fold typology of strategies used by social workers to overcome obstacles was devised from responses to an open-ended question. In addition to the need for more resourcing, the findings suggest a need for social work education and training on how to effectively support NRPF migrants using extant legislation and agencies, and suggest knowledge exchange to promote inter-agency collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcad224
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Early online date27 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Hostile environment
  • Infrastructural Power
  • Migration
  • No Recourse to Public Funds
  • Social work
  • Theoretical Domains Framework

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