Foundations support of destitute migrants
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and ACF have recently commissioned a counsel’s opinion on legal issues associated with supporting migrants with no recourse to public funds. The legal opinion, obtained from Bates Wells Braithwaite llp, Adrian Berry of Garden Court Chambers and Devonshires solicitors, clarifies that criminal law does not prevent assistance being given to undocumented people to alleviate destitution or meet basic human needs. It also specifies that individuals with no recourse to public funds who lack housing and employment and/or are destitute can be supported by charitable foundations. Assistance to those subject to no recourse to public funds is affected only by the 'public funds’ limitation. Charitable foundations’ assets, however, are not ‘public funds’ for the purpose of immigration law. Although there is a criminal offence of assisting unlawful immigration, it is the legal opinion that charities offering food, money, services or accommodation to relieve the destitution of people unlawfully present in the UK would not be covered by this and would be unlikely to face prosecution.