Monday, April 25, 2011

Migrants from former Communist countries can now claim £250 per week in Britain.

Britain faces a new influx of migrants who could claim benefits of up to £250 a week within weeks of arriving.

From next Sunday, rules that ban Eastern Europeans from claiming unemployment, housing and council tax benefits until they have worked in the UK for 12 months are being lifted.

Critics are concerned about the risk of ‘benefits tourism’ by immigrants from the eight former Communist countries affected.

It is feared that the relaxed rules will attract new immigrants, as well as persuading the one million or so Eastern Europeans already in Britain to stay.
When the countries joined the EU in 2004, their citizens were barred from claiming jobseeker’s allowance or housing and council tax benefits in the UK until they had worked here for 12 months continuously. The stringent rules meant few qualified.
But the restrictions were time-limited – it was always intended they would end when a transition period finished seven years after the countries joined the EU.

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From next Sunday they will be treated exactly the same as Britons. They will be able to claim the three benefits immediately, as long as they can prove they meet their own countries’ requirements for unemployment benefit, are seeking to work, and are ‘habitually resident’ here.

The ‘habitually resident’ qualification means they will usually have to have been here for three months.

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