Action is expected to allow migrants claim jobseeker’s allowance, council tax benefit
3rd March 2011: Migrants from A8 countries – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will no longer have to register to work for a month or more in Britain. This follows the end of the Workers Registration Scheme.
In the beginning of May, the restrictions which were imposed when eight eastern European states joined the EU in 2004 have to be lifted. The action is expected to allow migrants to claim jobseeker’s allowance, council tax benefit and housing benefit.
As a result, thousands of migrants from the former Soviet bloc will within weeks be allowed to claim a range of benefits and work in the UK without registering.
According to The Times, nothing less than 100,000 migrants could claim UK benefits. The amount is expected to run into tens of millions of pounds.
The Department for Work and Pensions, however, does not agree. It is insisting that strict rules in place would go a long way in preventing abuse and not to permit "benefit tourism". Rather, protecting the benefit system from abuse was its "number one priority".
The department said it had no option, but to remain in line with national and international obligations.
Immigration minister Damian Green claimed 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.
They were in the process of delivering major reform to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands with the introduction of a new limit on economic migrants from outside the EU, alongside new proposals to reform other routes of entry, including students, families and marriage.