COVENTRY MP Taiwo Owatemi says she has joined a cross-party group pressuring the government to help destitute migrants.
Ms Owatemi has coordinated a letter from almost 100 MPs calling for temporary removal of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ status (NRPF).
Migrants living in the UK can be given leave to remain, but not permitted to receive benefits including Universal Credit.
It means they would not be allowed to access coronavirus relief established by the government.
Ms Owatemi said:“We welcome the measures designed by the government to support people through this crisis.
“However, it is unacceptable that people with no recourse to public funds should be left out of this relief.
“It is clear that we must all work together to end this crisis. Unless the government waives their NRPF status, this portion of our communities will have to choose between protecting their health or losing their livelihood.”
She added vulnerable migrants’ access to the Government’s measures to support workers, business owners and the unemployed through this health crisis is in doubt. As it stands, self-employed people with NRPF status, such as many construction workers, and care workers, will be unable to benefit from the Government’s provision for the self-employed through universal credit.
There are concerns among the parliamentary group that without Government funds, people with NRPF status will continue to travel to their jobs which may not be considered ‘essential’.
By denying people the funding, designed to make the government’s social distancing measures easier to follow, they will find it increasingly hard to adhere to NHS guidance with potentially fatal consequences, the group argues.