- The DWP is required to establish the terms of a non EEA national’s entry or stay in the UK - normally referred to as 'leave'. This is called the Immigration Status test.
- A non EEA national's immigration status determines whether or not they may be entitled to UC (and certain other benefits).
- Nearly all non-EEA nationals will require 'leave' to enter and remain in the UK.
- 'Leave' can be granted for a fixed period or open ended and with or without a public funds condition.
- Most people with limited leave (including those allowed to work) will do so on the clear understanding that they support themselves during their stay without assistance from public funds and so cannot claim UC.
- A person who does not pass the Immigration Status test is called a 'person subject to immigration control' (a 'PSIC') and is not entitled to UC.
- However, if they are a member of a couple, the other member may be able to claim UC based on a single person standard allowance - more here.
Someone would be a Person Subject to Immigration Control (PSIC) - ie fail the Immigration Status test, and so be unable to able to claim UC if they:
- Require leave to enter or remain in the UK but they do not have that leave, OR
- Require leave to enter or remain in the UK and has it, but that leave is limited by the restriction that they do not have 'recourse to public funds', ie that they will not be a burden on the state, OR
- Have leave to enter or remain in the UK because someone has formally agreed to sponsor them (unless their sponsor has died, or it is more than 5 years since they entered the UK), OR
- Have leave to enter or remain in the UK only because they are awaiting the outcome of an appeal about their leave.
The majority of Persons Subject to Immigration Control will have been given limited leave to enter or remain in the UK on the clear understanding that they have sufficient resources to support and accommodate themselves and any dependents during their stay. Some may be allowed to work while in the UK but they are still not entitled to support from public funds.
Would a PSIC ever be able to claim UC ?
Note that sometimes one member of a couple may be a PSIC but not the other - in which case the unrestricted member can claim UC but at a reduced rate- more here.
And some people who have been victims of domestic violence can have their "no recourse to publc funds" restriction lifted.
And a PSIC who is a family member of an EEA national may "piggy back" on that relative's status.
Who is likely to be a PSIC?
The 'People Subject to Immigration Control' you are likely to encounter as applicants / tenants will be non EEA nationals who are: visitors, tourists, students, fiance/es, spouses or elderly relatives of people living here, and people with limited time work visas (this is not an exhaustive list).
The DWP can access information about a person's immigration status direct from the Home Office
(SI no 2077/2008).
How do I tell?
A person's immigration status, and any restrictions, can be seen on a stamp or vignette on a passport or visa , or on a letter from the UK Border Agency, or on a biometric residence permit. Guidance on the cards, and a useful annotated picture of one, is given in "Biometric residence permits overseas applicant and sponsor information" from gov.uk .If you have any doubt about someone's status it is best to ask to see their documents. This is not just because they might be refused UC, but also because if they apply, they may be in breach of their conditions of leave and could jeopardise their right to stay in the UK. This is particularly the case for those with a ''no recourse to public funds' restriction.