Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

EU migrants need to pass eligibility test to claim unemployment and housing benefits

Date: (25 March 2013)    |    

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A new proposal to discourage EU nationals from coming into the UK is being looked into where the Prime Minister would seek migrants to prove that they have been in continuous lookout for work if they want to receive income benefits.

The political language over UK immigration is building up further as David Cameron has promised to ban all EU nationals from claiming benefits after six months in the UK unless they could prove that they have been continuously looking for work over that period.

There has been some concession though in as much as that EU migrants would still be drawing some income related benefits in the first year of their stay in the UK. But it may still put the UK at odds with the EU over restrictions on free movement of workers.

Further Cameron has set out plans to restrict foreigners from access to social housing if they have not been resident in the UK for five years, it would also be made easier for NHS to claim back the costs of treating people from overseas.

Cameron is to say in a speech that only EU migrants could only continue to claim jobseekers allowance if they have been continuously actively seeking work and have a realistic and imminent prospect of finding a job.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that he wants to create a system that would be fair and will support the aspirations of hard working people who want to get in on life. The giving for nothing culture is to be applied to immigration as well as welfare he is to say. A message he would want to send across to EU migrants that just like British citizens there was no absolute right to unemployment benefits.

As per the Department for Work and Pensions there are 371,000 people claiming working – age benefits were non-UK nationals when they first applied first applied for national insurance number. Among the number, 258,000 were non-EEA nationals. But the figures are not very authentic
All three main party leaders have been offering varied packages to address voters' concerns about migrants, and the perception that they are taking jobs or have privileged access to public services.
Although the Bishop of Dudley, David Walker, said fears about UK immigration bore no relation to reality, London's mayor, Boris Johnson, said Cameron was right to stop people "leeching" off the system.
Cameron's detailed proposals would require legislation, and are likely to be scrutinised both among his own party to assess just how radical they are and for compatibility with EU law.
Downing Street also promised to strengthen the test people have to pass to see if they are eligible to claim income-related benefits – the so called habitual residence test which ensures that the UK is a person's main residence. There will be an increase in the number and a stronger range and depth of questions asked, the government said.