Tougher tests planned for migrant to access benefits

Tougher tests for EU migrants looking to access benefits will be introduced from March 1, Iain Duncan Smith has announced. The Government wants migrants to prove they have earned £150 per week for three months before getting "worker" status.

IDS: Tougher benefit tests will 'ensure fair system'

Denying "worker" status to EU migrants who fail to prove they have earned £150 per week for at least three months will curb benefits tourism, Iain Duncan Smith has said.

The work and pensions secretary explained:

As part of the Government's long-term economic plan we have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard, play by the rules and contribute to this country.

These reforms will ensure we have a fair system - one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage of our benefits system.

The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.

– Iain Duncan Smith

EU migrants face tougher tests under Govt plans

European migrants will face tougher tests before they can access a range of benefits in the UK from the beginning of March, Iain Duncan Smith has announced.

Read: IDS pledges to change 'Benefits Street' culture

Iain Duncan Smith
The work and pensions secretary believes it is too easy for migrants who have not worked a lot to claim benefits. Credit: PA

Migrants from the EU will have to prove they have earned around £150 a week for three months before they can qualify for "worker" status, the work and pensions secretary has said.

If they can prove they have worked in the UK, then EU migrants will have access to some child benefit, child tax credit and jobseeker's allowance if they lose their employment, as well as housing benefit.

Anyone with earnings below that threshold will face a fuller assessment of whether their work was "genuine and effective", with the possibility of being denied worker status.

The earnings threshold will be set at the level at which people start paying national insurance, £149 a week in 2013/14, and £153 a week in 2014/15.

Read: Govt to deny housing benefit to jobless immigrants

Read: IDS proposes 'two-year ban' on migrant benefits

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