HC Deb 15 February 1989 vol 147 cc231-2W
Mr. Greg Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what instructions he has given to social security staff on dealing with a claimant who is a visitor to Britain and who alleges benefit is necessary because his or her sponsor has withdrawn sponsorship;

(2) if he will take steps to withdraw eligibility for benefit from visitors from abroad whose sponsors have withdrawn sponsorship.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

There are no provisions for a sponsor to withdraw sponsorship. A sponsored person enters Britain as an immigrant and is typically an elderly parent of the sponsor, who undertakes to provide him with full support including housing. Sponsorship creates a permanent legal liability for a sponsor to maintain the person he has sponsored and this liability is enforced wherever necessary. When, exceptionally, a sponsored immigrant claims income support, social security staff have instructions to contact the sponsor to ensure that he continues to fulfil his undertaking where he has the means. The Department can take proceedings to recover benefit from him if he withdraws support without good cause. These arrangements provide a good safeguard against abuse of the social security system and we have no proposals to change them.