How ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ can trap women in domestic violence

Under current legislation, people who travel to Britain on marriage visas remain completely financially dependent on their partners for the first two years.


Anita’s story and the callous immigration rule that trapped her

At first glance Anita Jain looks and acts just like any other bright and confident 28-year-old woman. It’s only when she pulls back her sleeves to reveal the deep, angry scars running along her wrists that you realise Anita’s recent past has been anything but plain sailing.

For two years her husband beat her horrendously. So bad was the abuse that she was regularly hospitalised – on one occasion a nurse even found a footprint in the small of her back.

Helping any vulnerable woman escape from such a situation is depressingly difficult. But a particularly callous British immigration law means that, for people like Anita, finding a way out is even harder.

The problem is that although Anita, an Indian national, had come to Britain perfectly legally and was married to a British citizen she was forbidden from accessing any public money during her first two years in the country.

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‘He Made Me Feel So Very Afraid’

When Jennifer moved to Grimsby to be with her British husband, she was hopeful about beginning a new future, with a new man, in a new home.

She often wondered if she was doing the right thing by leaving behind her friends and family in Africa, but pushed aside her reservations when she saw how eager her partner was to share his life with her and her daughter.

Several years later, and the optimism of those early days is replaced with the pessimism of bitter experience.

“There’s always regrets in life, but that’s how you learn,” said Jennifer. “Now, I’m saying ‘no’ to relationships forever. Some people are probably lucky, but I just think ‘no more.'”

To begin with, says Jennifer – a quiet and dignified woman in her 30s – her husband was nice and treated her well.

However, not long after moving to the town, he told her that British people are racist and would not like the fact that he had married a black woman.

From the beginning, Jennifer felt trapped. She was never allowed a key to the house, remained locked indoors all day, and had no access to money, food or clothing – unless it was provided by her husband.

He even insisted that they walk her daughter to school together rather than let her out of his sight for a minute.

She tried applying for jobs, but her husband posted the applications and potential employers mysteriously failed to respond.

Story continues at

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