In just 12 weeks, eastern European migrants to become eligible for benefits

Can claim up to £256 in monthly unemployment allowances. New law to come into force next April

8th March 2010: If you are a migrant from an eastern European country, you will not have to wait for 12 months to claim UK benefits. The new laws, scheduled to come into force next April, will make you eligible for some benefits after only 12 weeks.

In fact, the migrants from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic will only have to prove they have been looking for a job for 12 weeks to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and other benefits.

The development is significant as the changes will give eastern European immigrants in Britain the same benefits as in countries like France and Germany.

According to the estimates, there are 1.2million eastern European ­nationals in the UK. With the implementation of the new rule, they could claim anywhere between £200 and £256 in unemployment allowances a month. The amount is much higher than £57.20 they could possibly get back home.

The move, however, has not gone down well with the critics. They believe the taxpayers will to pay millions more in benefits for EU migrants.  Reacting to the developments, chairman of MigrationWatch UK Sir Andrew Green says now is the time to engage the EU in a renegotiation of the welfare ­arrangements to ensure that `we’ do not face a wave of benefit shoppers when these countries become full members.

On the other hand, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman has asserted most migrants do not claim benefits.

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