The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has dismissed the Government’s move to limit EU migrants’ access to benefits as posturing.
Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron announced that from 1st January 2014, all EU jobseekers will have to wait for three months before they can apply to claim out of work benefits.
Reacting to the announcement, JCWI said Mr. Cameron has created a myth to fight against in order to look tough on immigrants.
EU migrants come to the UK to work – not to claim benefit, JCWI said.
The organisation also pointed out that EU migrants are less than half as likely to claim out of work benefits than UK citizens. At the same time, the majority of those claims are not in the first three months after arrival.
According to the Department of Work and Pension’s own figures in February this year 16.4% of working-age UK nationals were claiming out of work benefits, compared with just 6.7% of non-UK nationals.
JCWI further noted that 601,000 foreign nationals registered for a national insurance number in 2011/12, but only 35,000 (6.1%) were claiming out-of-work benefits within six months.
Habib Rahman, Chief Exec of JCWI, said: “The Prime Minister might as well be fighting monsters under the bed. This is a non-issue, the Habitual Residency Test already means people cannot arrive and claim. Migrants come here to work, they make a significant contribution to the country’s prosperity.
“It seems very strange to be proud about making the UK a less attractive place for migrants or anyone else. This is posturing and pretence to appease Cameron’s backbenchers, UKIP and the editors of certain newspapers. He really should find a better use of Parliamentary time.”