Data on migrants and benefits is incomplete, fragmented and not routinely available from a single source, a House of Commons research briefing has revealed.
Such data is never complete because the nationality of benefit claimants is not routinely gathered by either DWP or HMRC when administering benefits or tax credits.
The briefing shows that in February 2015, some 371,220 working-age claimants of DWP benefits (7.2% of total claimants) were non-UK nationals when they first registered for a National Insurance Number (NINo). Of these, 113,960 were EU nationals, 30.7% of non-UK claimants and 2.2% of total claimants.
The briefing also shows that non-UK nationals at the point of NINo registration are less likely to be receiving key DWP out-of-work benefits than UK-born.
This research briefing leaves one wondering why there has been a hot debate on migrants and benefits.