EU migrants face new curbs on claiming benefits in an attempt to reduce Britain’s 'pull factor'


  • However, the moves are certain to be seen as an attempt to reduce the threat to the two Coalition parties from Ukip at next month’s European Parliament elections

The Independent
By Andrew Grice
8 April 2014

Migrants from the EU are to lose their right to claim child benefit as soon as they arrive in Britain in the Government’s latest curbs on state handouts for EU nationals.

Ministers will also force unemployed EU migrants with poor spoken English to improve their language skills or face losing their right to claim jobseeker’s allowance (JSA).

The Coalition rushed in a three-month delay on claiming JSA just before Romanians and Bulgarians won the right to work in Britain from 1 January. From July, all EU migrants will need to live in the UK for three months before they can claim child benefit and child tax credits, which top up the incomes of low-earning families with children. People from outside the EU often have visa restrictions which prevent having “recourse to public funds” while in Britain.

Although ministers say the aim is to reduce Britain’s “pull factor”, their latest moves are bound to be seen as an attempt to reduce the threat to the two Coalition parties from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (Ukip) at next month’s European Parliament elections. Some opinion polls suggest that Nigel Farage’s party could push the Conservatives into third place.

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