Immigration Law | UK Facing European Court Over Migrant Benefits

The European Commission is taking the UK to the European Court of Justice for discriminating against nationals from other EU member states who apply for benefits.

The Commission believes that foreigners working or living in the UK are not assessed in the same way as British citizens and alleges that they have an extra test applied to them to see if they are eligible to claim, which contravenes EU law.

The UK currently applies its own test on top of the standard EU test to find out whether a migrant is eligible for welfare payments, which the Commission believes may have denied thousands of them access to benefits, such as child tax credit.

While in another case, it is alleged that an EU national who had been working and paying taxes in the UK was refused jobseekers’ allowance after being made redundant.

The European Court will announce details of the legal action in Luxembourg later today (May 30th) and, in the interim, there will be no formal Government comment. However, an official told the BBC that the British test was vital to ensure that benefits were paid only to people from other countries living legally in the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced in March that the Government would be taking measures to ensure that people from other EU member states were coming to the UK “for the right reasons”.

These include facing more rigorous testing to assess whether or not they had a “realistic prospect” of getting a job, with the ability to speak English being one of the criteria.

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London