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Leaving care: Support for migrants

How we support migrants we have looked after.

1 Overview

West Sussex is home to people from a range of different backgrounds:

  • Some families have lived here for generations
  • Some are high-flying professionals who have been attracted by the borough’s ambitious plans for the future
  • Others have made a home for themselves after claiming asylum after entering Gatwick Airport or one of the ports on the coast.

When unaccompanied asylum-seeking children come to West Sussex, we look after them and give them a home with a foster carer. Once they reach the age of 18, they too receive a leaving care service.

Many of our personal advisors and social workers are extremely knowledgeable about immigration, with a great deal of experience in the field. They understand immigration law and procedure and they do their utmost to support you if you are subject to immigration control.

2 No recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Some of the young people we support have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This means that they are not entitled to benefits or housing and, in most cases, they are not permitted to work either.

Check your biometric residence permit (BRP). If it says ‘Forbidden from taking employment’ then you will be treated by us as having NRPF.

If you have NRPF

Much of the overall support you receive from us is going to be the same as for someone who does have recourse to public funds if you have NRPF. You will have a personal advisor (PA), a Pathway Plan and receive general advice and assistance. The main differences are related to finances, accommodation and work.

If you have NRPF, the reality is that you are going to have to return home at some point. Although some people do successfully fight and overturn this status after the Home Office has issued it, very few achieve this. The best way we can support you is to help you plan what will happen once you return to your country of origin. Though you may not like to think about this, it can make all the difference if you are picked up by the Home Office and sent back home.

In your Pathway Plan you can expect discussion about:

  • who will support you back home (if anyone)
  • the dangers you may face
  • where could you stay and what could you do for work or education
  • how could you engage in education or training in the UK to give you skills for use back home
  • how will you comply with any Home Office conditions, such as attending weekly meetings at Lunar House
  • voluntary return schemes, and how you could take advantage of them.

3 Deportation

Under UK immigration law, a deportation order may be made against a foreign national such if you have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

This not only allows for you to be removed from the UK, but also means you can be kept in custody until you are removed.

The order also means you can’t return to the UK for as long as it remains in force – it doesn’t matter what previous leave to remain you may have had.

A deportation order may be made for any of these reasons:

  • It’s been decided that it would be in the public’s interest for you to be removed from the UK.
  • You are the spouse, civil partner or child of someone who has a deportation order.
  • You are over 17 years old, have been convicted of a crime which carries a prison sentence and the court recommends you be deported after you’ve served your sentence. The prison sentence can sometimes be bypassed altogether, and you are simply deported. The more serious the crime is, the more likely this is to happen.

A deportation order should not be made if it breaches your Human Rights or the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Once a deportation order has been made against you, you may be held in a detention centre without any warning, but you will also be advised of your right to appeal. This will be particularly unnerving if an order has been made against you and you also have a child. The reality is that your child would also be at risk of being removed with you, unless they live separately with the other parent and they do not face deportation. In such circumstances, the child may avoid deportation.

Where a deportation order is usually reserved for someone who has been convicted of a crime, 'administrative removal' is another term you may hear. It is exactly the same as a deportation order, except it is for someone who has breached the conditions of their leave to remain or who obtained permission to stay in the UK through deception. You can appeal an administrative removal decision if you have the right to do so, or you can choose to leave the UK. There is some additional helpful information available from Citizens Advice.

If you recognise this as your situation, then you may be tempted to go into hiding in the UK. It’s illegal to hide from the Home Office, but even if you did it successfully, life will always be difficult for you. You’ll never be able to legally work, open a bank account, rent a flat, buy a house and you will always be looking over your shoulder. If the Home Office find you, they will remove you. We strongly urge you not to hide, and we will never support you in your decision to do it.


If you’re subject to a deportation order or to being removed, you are likely to be detained. If you’re going to be deported soon, you’ll be taken to a detention centre, unless the Home Office thinks you might try to avoid it. You’re most likely to be taken into detention when you visit your reporting centre, but it can happen at any time. If you have children, they’ll be detained with you, so it’s important to prepare them.

Once you’re in detention, you won’t be deported for at least 72 hours. You should be given information in your own language explaining your rights while you’re there. If you don’t receive this, you should ask for it.

Your rights are:

  • to have visitors, receive post and phone calls
  • apply for bail
  • keep your personal property
  • communicate with the outside world, for example, to tell people in your home country that you may be returning
  • live in accommodation with your family, if they are detained with you.

You can also ask to see a legal advisor while you’re in detention. They'll help you apply for bail and make further appeals if new information about your situation is uncovered.

4 Immigration claim support

One of the leading charities in the UK offering practical support and advice to people who are seeking asylum is the Refugee Council.

Their support includes:

  • signposting to services for asylum seekers by phone, in person or through its online resources directory
  • classes to help with learning English.

The Refugee Council is also involved in a great deal of policy work, research, parliamentary work and campaigning. This is done to try and improve the lives of all young people who have claimed asylum in the UK.

5 Indefinite leave to remain

If you have a legal right to stay in the UK, you’ll be considering making an application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) once your refugee status expires.

We’ll be right behind your bid to get the permanent right to live in the UK. We'll be able to offer you a list of immigration-specialist solicitors who can help you make an application. The majority of people are able to access legal aid to fund the application.

Be patient as it takes the Home Office around six months to decide. When you send off your application, you’ll have to return your expired biometric residence permit (BRP). However, we are not able to fund your application if you are not able to access legal aid.

British citizenship

The pinnacle of settling in the UK is getting British citizenship. If you have this, you will have all the same rights as anyone who was born in the UK, including the right to vote and the right to get a passport.

You will also need to sit a citizenship test. Here are a few genuine examples of questions you can expect to face:

  • What charity works to preserve important buildings, coastline and countryside in the UK?
  • Who was the tribal leader who fought against the Romans?
  • What is the day when jokes are published in newspapers and broadcasted on TV?

You’ll be pleased to hear that there are apps available for you to do some practice questions. Try testing your personal advisor and see if they’d be granted citizenship!

If you’re successful, you can expect to enjoy a ceremony commemorating your achievement.

Financial support with the cost of your British citizenship application will be considered on a case by case basis and requires senior management approval.

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Last updated:
29 September 2020
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