Measures to limit migrants' access to benefits - Parliament.uk

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BRIEFING PAPER Number 06889, 17 June 2015

Measures to limit migrants' access to benefits

By Steven Kennedy

Inside: 1. EEA nationals and benefits 2. Prime Minister’s Financial Times article 3. A “stronger, more robust” Habitual Residence Test 4. No income-based JSA for those who have been in the UK for less than three months 5. No income-based JSA for EEA migrants after six months unless they have a “genuine prospect of work” 6. Minimum earnings threshold to help determine whether work is “genuine and effective” 7. No entitlement to Housing Benefit for EEA jobseekers 8. Overall impact of the measures announced up to Budget 2014 9. No Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit for jobseekers until the person has been in the UK three months 10. No Universal Credit for EEA jobseekers

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Number 06889, 17 June 2015

Contents Summary

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1. 1.1

EEA nationals and benefits Romanian and Bulgarian nationals

4 5

2.

Prime Minister’s Financial Times article

7

3.

A “stronger, more robust” Habitual Residence Test

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4.

No income-based JSA for those who have been in the UK for less than three months Background New regulations introducing the three month rule Impact on returning UK nationals Effect of temporary absences from the UK

10 10 11 12 14

No income-based JSA for EEA migrants after six months unless they have a “genuine prospect of work” Background Amending regulations Further reduction in the time limit to three months Comment and analysis

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6.1 6.2 6.3

Minimum earnings threshold to help determine whether work is “genuine and effective” Background Introduction of the new threshold Comment

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7. 7.1

No entitlement to Housing Benefit for EEA jobseekers SSAC public consultation on amending regulations

24 25

8.

Overall impact of the measures announced up to Budget 2014

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9.

No Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit for jobseekers until the person has been in the UK three months

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4.1 4.2

5. 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.

10. No Universal Credit for EEA jobseekers 10.1 Amending regulations 10.2 Correspondence between SSAC and the Secretary of State

33 33 34

Cover page image copyright: Job Centre Plus by Richard McKeever. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 / image cropped.

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Measures to limit migrants' access to benefits

Summary Following an article by the Prime Minister’s in the Financial Times on 27 November 2013 in which he said he shared concerns about the impact of lifting transitional restrictions on the rights of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to work in the UK from 1 January 2014, the Government has introduced a raft of measures “to tighten up our EEA migration rules to ensure our welfare system is not taken advantage of.” They include: • • •

• • • •

From December 2013, a “stronger, more robust” Habitual Residence Test for those claiming means-tested benefits. From 1 January 2014, people coming to the UK must have been living in the UK for three months before they can claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. EEA jobseekers or former workers would have to show that they had a “genuine prospect of finding work” to continue to get JSA after six months (and if applicable, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit). For those with a right to reside as a jobseeker the test is now applied after three months on JSA. From 1 March 2014, a new minimum earnings threshold to help determine whether an EEA national is or was in “genuine and effective” work, and so has a “r