EU migrants face 100 new questions to make it harder to obtain benefits
The new habitual residence test is being rushed out before transitional controls on Romanians and Bulgarians are lifted.
Income-related benefits such as housing benefit, income support and council tax benefit are to be harder for EU migrants to obtain from Friday as they face a string of 100 questions, including the reasons they were unable to find a job in their home country. They will also be asked about their ability to speak English.
The new 100 questions in the fresh habitual residence test is being rushed out ahead of the transitional controls on Romanians and Bulgarians being lifted on 1 January.
The European Union insists on the free movement of workers within the EU, but the government believes it is legally entitled to ask tougher questions of migrants before they are entitled to make benefit claims.
EU workers are already asked to prove they have been genuinely seeking work in the UK.
The DWP said that in “order to pass the improved habitual residence test migrants will have to answer more individually tailored questions, provide more detailed answers, and submit more evidence before they will be allowed to make a claim.”
For the first time migrants will be quizzed about what efforts they have made to find work before coming to the UK and whether their English language skills will be a barrier to them finding employment.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “It is vitally important that we have strict rules in place to protect the integrity 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.”