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Daily Mail says 100,000 Eastern European migrants free to claim full benefits in UK worth tens of millions of pounds following EU ruling | Immigration Matters

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As many as 100,000 migrants from Eastern Europe will be allowed to claim £250-a-week as Europe forces Britain to abolish its restrictions on benefits, the Daily Mail reports. 

In a move that could cost the British taxpayer tens of millions of pounds, migrants from the former Soviet bloc will be allowed jobseeker’s allowance, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

The law changes will come into effect within weeks as the European Union scraps restrictions imposed when eight states joined the EU in 2004, and it leaves Britain powerless to counter the move.

The end of the Workers Registration Scheme means migrants from the so-called A8 countries – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will no longer have to register if they wish to work for a month or more in Britain.

Estimates suggested that as many as 100,000 migrants could claim UK benefits from the start of May, the Mail said yesterday.

When the former Soviet bloc countries joined the EU in 2004 the Office for National Statistics called it ‘the largest single wave of in-movement ever experienced by the UK’.

But the Department for Work and Pensions insisted that strict rules would remain in place to prevent abuse and stop ‘benefit tourism’.

Immigration minister Damian Green pointed out that at the same time that the scheme ended in the UK, countries including Germany and Austria were opening up their labour markets even more to workers from their eastern neighbours.

Only Britain, Ireland and Sweden permitted free access to workers from A8 countries in 2004. It is thought that many will now be attracted to Germany and Austria, which are geographically nearer.

Mr Green said: ‘Under the terms of the Accession Treaty these restrictions have to be lifted at the end of April, giving A8 nationals the same access to work as other EU nationals.

‘At the same time Germany and Austria will be opening their doors to these workers for the first time.

‘This Government will apply transitional controls for all new EU member states in accordance with the relevant Accession Treaty as a matter of course in the future.

‘We are in the process of delivering major reform to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands with the introduction of a new limit on economic migrants from outside the EU, alongside new proposals to reform other routes of entry, including students, families and marriage.’

The DWP said it had no choice but to remain in line with national and international obligations.

But the department insisted that protecting the benefit system from abuse was its ‘number one priority’.

A spokesman said: ‘No-one can just come into the UK and start claiming our benefits.

‘We have strict rules in place to protect the system from any abuse.

‘For instance, to claim an income-related benefit, a person from the EU will have to pass the Habitual Residence Test alongside all of our other eligibility criteria.

‘They will have to prove they have a right to reside here and will then be asked to prove their attachment to the UK; they will have to show an intention to settle here and their reasons for coming to the UK.

‘We will be keeping our benefit rules to people from abroad under review to ensure it’s secure.’ Source: Daily Mail

There is much confusion surrounding the whole area of Bulgarian and Romanian rights to work and study in the UK.

Migrants, employers and even advisers at Job Centres and help lines are not always clear about whether or not Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can work in the UK and what documents are required.

Despite the fact that they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries.

Many care industry and catering businesses would like to recruit Romanian, Bulgarian and other European workers, as the Government’s cap on migration, combined with newly imposed restrictions on Tier 2 and Tier 4 routes, has made it increasing difficult to recruit non-EU staff (on work permits and student visas).

But many employers are unaware of the distinct difference between ‘A8’ nationals (Polish, Latvian, Slovakian, Czechs, Hungarians, Slovenians Lithuanians and Estonians), who joined the EU in 2004 and more recent members from Bulgaria and Romania. Although both groups have the same rights to freely enter the UK, they do not enjoy the same rights to work, or free movement of labour. See also: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.

Paragraph 2 of the ‘Guidance for Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania on Obtaining Permission to Work in the United Kingdom’ states:

‘As a Romanian or Bulgarian national you are able to move and live freely in any Member State of the European Union (EU). You do not need permission under our immigration rules to reside legally in the United Kingdom. You will have a right of residence in any EU Member State for the first 3 months of residence on an unrestricted basis and you can remain legally resident in that state as long as you wish, providing you are exercising a Treaty right as a student, a self-employed person, or if you are self-sufficient(and not economically active). You will not have an automatic right to reside as a worker in the United Kingdom (unless you are exempt from work authorisation requirements – see paragraph 6 below).’

Half a million Romanians in UK

There is an estimated 500,000 Romanians alone in the UK, many of whom are working as self employed contractors, which is allowed, whilst others study and work on a yellow coloured registration certificate commonly known as ‘Yellow Card’.

After 12 months of continuous legal work they can apply for residence under a so called ‘Blue Card’ registration.

See article:

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website 

See article:

 

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website

See also:

HOW TO FIND APPLICATION FORMS FOR A ‘YELLOW’ OR ‘BLUE’ CARD REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE ON THE UK BORDER AGENCY WEBSITE

Employers ‘addicted’ to migrant workers says UK Immigration Minister

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

Free Movement of EU nationals explained

EU residency for sale at your nearest Latvian Estate Agency

European Commission orders Italy to end discrimination against workers with experience and qualifications from another EU country

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Tier 2 Working Visas, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: 

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

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