Search Legislation

Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Section 115: Exclusion from benefits

336.The intention of Part VI is to substitute a new set of welfare provisions for entitlement to the majority of the existing social welfare benefits that are available to permanent residents. This section (and sections 116, 117, 120 and 121) provides the basis for this, by excluding a “person subject to immigration control” from specified benefits.

337.Subsection (1) removes entitlement from all non-contributory social security benefits in Great Britain. From commencement of this provision, all existing payments of social security benefits to asylum seekers would cease (subject to any savings or transitional provisions). Those asylum seekers who as a result were destitute would be entitled to assistance under the new support arrangements set out in Part VI. Subsection (2) makes comparable provision for Northern Ireland.

338.Subsection (3) provides that the section applies to a person subject to immigration control unless he falls within a prescribed category or description or fulfils prescribed conditions. Subsection (4) gives the Secretary of State power to remove a person from this definition for particular purposes only. For example, he might be removed in relation to disability living allowance but not in relation to income support. The power under section (3) would be used, inter alia, in relation to those people who have rights under international conventions to which the United Kingdom is party, such as the European Convention on Medical and Social Assistance and the European Social Charter; if they have entered this country lawfully such people are entitled to normal welfare benefits, even if they are seeking asylum. Subsections (5), (6), (7) and (8) make provisions as to the making of the regulations under subsection (3).

339.Subsection (9) defines “a person subject to immigration control” as someone who is in the United Kingdom unlawfully (either an illegal entrant, or someone who has overstayed his leave); someone who is here on limited leave with a condition that he will have no recourse to public funds (eg a visitor or a student); someone who is here under a maintenance undertaking; or someone whose leave has been extended to allow him to pursue an appeal. These classes embrace asylum seekers if they are subject to immigration control in this sense (an application for asylum does not itself confer an entry status or leave to remain), and a number of other persons subject to immigration control.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources