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Migrant Benefits in the UK

January 2014, 27
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Many UK citizens have very much the wrong impression of a migrants eligibility to claim benefits in the country. The UK have a wide and varied welfare system and have done since the 1950’s with the idea to ensure that no citizens live in poverty in the country. Before this the only aid for destitute people was a Workhouse establishment, or more widely known as 'The Poorhouse'. These were large brick built buildings where families or single people could enter claiming destitution, they would then be split into categories and families torn apart.

UK Migrant

The working days were long and tiring and food and shelter was minimal but it was the better option for many than taking their chances on the streets. Times have moved on dramatically since that period and the Poor House has long since gone. People who face hard times financially in the U.K can claim a range of state benefits, which are funding by the tax paying citizens of the country. There is also a range of in work benefits, especially for those considered to have a low income, of under £16,000 per year.

With recent restrictions removed for two migrants groups in the EU - Romanians and Bulgarians - many U.K citizens are angered as they believe these people can come over and be given benefits that we have a large percentage of our wages taken directly, to fund. However, this is not how it is…

Unless Asylum Seekers no migrants can come into the U.K and immediately claim benefits, it is a fabrication that they can. They are, however, not left to fend for themselves and are given a card which can be used at supermarkets for food, this card has no financial worth and is merely to prevent hunger. Temporary accommodation is also offered but not in all cases. Migrants can stay in the U.K for an initial period of 3 months, currently, and this is without being able to claim benefits. After the 3 month period a migrant must either be in employment or show sufficient evidence of their attempts to find employment in order to be allowed to stay.

In order to the claim benefits a migrant will have to, under EU law, pass a ‘habitual residence test’ this is to investigate them, their background, current activity and housing situation. If the test is passed then an unemployed migrant can then claim Job Seekers Allowance, which is a benefit of around £70 per week. This is given fortnightly and their are monthly interviews where you must prove your attempts to find employment between interviews, if this is not to a satisfactory level then the benefit is withdrawn. 

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