in the UK will now face tougher tests to claim benefits
Earnest December 13, 2013
Media LONDON—The British government has unveiled tougher tests for migrants seeking to claim income-related benefits in the UK.
The fresh tests, described by ministers as "more robust" questioning
for migrant benefit claimants, are set to be in place within five days
at job centers across England, Scotland, and Wales.
"It is vitally important that we have strict rules in
place to protect the integrity of our benefits system,” said British
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in a press release on
Under the new measures included in the British government's changes
to the Habitual Residence Test, those migrants who cannot speak English
well enough to find a job face being denied benefits.
Migrant workers will be also challenged to prove that they were genuinely looking for work before they came to the UK.
The rules are planned to apply to all overseas nationals and even to Britons returning after living abroad.
The move to tighten the tests comes at a time when London is already
in a legal battle with the European Commission, which describes as
discriminatory the rules limiting the rights of migrants to claim
"I fundamentally disagree and intend to fight the court action -
believing that the test is not only legal, but vital in order to protect
the British benefits system from abuse," Smith said.
In late November, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced
plans to tighten up welfare rules for migrant workers from the 28-member
bloc amid concerns over a possible surge in the number of Romanians and
Bulgarians coming to claim benefits when European Union (EU) working
restrictions are lifted in January 2014.
However, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding described the UK
welfare system as overgenerous, saying potential problems from the
influx of migrants are the fault of the British authorities.