Press release

Accelerating action to stop rogue EU benefit claims

The Prime Minister announces from 1 January 2014 all EU jobseekers have to wait for 3 months before they can apply for out of work benefits.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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As part of the government’s long-term plan for the economy, tough new rules have been brought in from the start of next year to stop people abusing Britain’s benefit system.

Last month, the Prime Minister announced a range of welfare, immigration and employment restrictions to ensure the UK is able to take some of the toughest action in Europe against people abusing their Treaty rights. The package included plans to stop EU citizens claiming out of work benefits until they had been in the UK for 3 months where previously they could apply to claim in a matter of weeks. Today the Prime Minister will announce that this new restriction is to come into force on 1 January.

The Prime Minister said:

The hard-working British public are rightly concerned that migrants do not come here to exploit our public services and our benefits system.

As part of our long-term plan for the economy, we are taking direct action to fix the welfare and immigration systems so we end the ‘something for nothing culture’ and deliver for people who play by the rules.

Accelerating the start of these new restrictions will make the UK a less attractive place for EU migrants who want to come here and try to live off the state. I want to send the clear message that whilst Britain is very much open for business, we will not welcome people who don’t want to contribute.

Most EU citizens coming to the UK come here to work as part of the single market and contribute to the economy and pay their taxes. But for those who come here without jobs to go to, the government is today tightening up the rules to stop them claiming out of work benefits from day 1.

Other measures already announced by the Prime Minister include:

  • cutting off benefits after 6 months for EU jobseekers with no job prospects
  • stopping housing benefit claims for EU jobseekers
  • toughening the habitual residence test to include a minimum earnings threshold to check whether migrants are genuinely working
  • imposing a 12 month re-entry ban for people who have been removed for not working or being self-sufficient
  • increasing fines for businesses found not to be paying the national minimum wage to £20,000 per employee – more than 4 times the current penalty

In addition, the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament includes provisions to reform the removals and appeals system, making it easier and quicker to remove people with no right to be here; and end the abuse of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life - and prevent illegal immigrants from accessing services like bank accounts, driving licenses or housing.

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Published 18 December 2013