A8 work-seekers to get same entitlements to out-of work benefits as other EU nationals
11 March 2011: Come May 1, and A8 nationals will be able to access the labour market on the same terms as other EU nationals, except Bulgarians and Romanians.
A8 work-seekers will also enjoy the same entitlements to out-of work benefits as other EU nationals’.
For the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has formally announced the closure of the Worker Registration Scheme on 30 April 2011.
The Immigration Minister’s announcement was made in a written ministerial statement. The
The significance of development can be gauged from the fact that 1.1 million A8 nationals registered under the scheme between May 2004 and the end of 2010.
Estimates suggest nothing less than 100,000 migrants could claim UK benefits. The amount is expected to run into tens of millions of pounds.
The UK Border Agency said the Worker Registration Scheme is a transitional scheme, which was introduced in 2004, when ‘A8’ countries — Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia — joined the European Union.
The nationals of these countries were required to register under the scheme, if they commenced employment in the UK. The scheme allowed the UKBA to monitor where A8 citizens were coming into their labour market, the type of work they were doing, and the impact they were having on the economy.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Accession, the UK cannot apply transitional restrictions on A8 nationals’ access to the labour market for more than seven years.
The UKBA said: `This means that A8 nationals will be able to access the labour market on the same terms as other EU nationals, except Bulgarians and Romanians, from 1 May 2011. A8 work-seekers will also enjoy the same entitlements to out-of work benefits as other EU nationals’.
Green has all along been claiming some of the countries, including Germany and Austria, would open their labour markets to workers from eastern neighbours at the same time the scheme ended in the UK.
In fact, many were expected to be drawn towards Germany and Austria as these countries were nearer in geographic terms.
Green said the Government would apply transitional controls for all new EU member states in accordance with the relevant Accession Treaty as a matter of course in the future.