Rules limiting migrants’ access to British benefits come into force

New rules limiting EU migrants’ access to British benefits have now entered into force.

From 1st January 2014, all jobseekers will have to wait for three months before they can apply to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

The government is convinced this will ensure sure that only people who have a legal right to be in the UK and plan to contribute to the economy have access to the British welfare system.

After three months, migrants will also have to take a stronger, more robust test if they want to claim income-based JSA.

In order to pass the improved Habitual Residence Test migrants will have to answer more individually tailored questions, provide more detailed answers, and submit more evidence before they will be allowed to make a claim.

For the first time, migrants will be asked about what efforts they have made to find work before coming to the UK and whether their English language skills will be a barrier to them finding employment.

If they pass the Habitual Residence Test, EEA jobseekers will then only be able to claim JSA for six months. After six months, only those who have compelling evidence that they have a genuine chance of finding work will be able to continue claiming.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.

“That is why, as part of the government’s long-term economic plan, we have taken action. New rules are now in place to ensure we have a fair system – one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage.”

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