Habitual Residence Test
Work and Pensions
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2005, Official Report, column 1048W, on the Habitual Residence Test, if he will change the rules for non-contributory benefits so that those who make sufficient contributions to a contributory benefit to enable them to obtain half of the maximum are deemed to have passed the habitual residency test.
James Plaskitt (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions; Warwick and Leamington, Labour)
The Habitual Residence Test is only applied to income-related benefits and people who qualify for a contributory benefit such as contribution based jobseeker's allowance will not be subject to the test. There is already provision in regulations which allows EEA nationals who have been working in the UK to be treated as habitually resident if they claim an income-related benefit. In line with EC case law, a returning UK national who has previously worked in the UK is likely to pass the Habitual Residence Test immediately. Non-EEA nationals who work in the UK are usually subject to immigration control and have no recourse to public funds. As such they have no access to income-related benefits and therefore would not be subject to the Habitual Residence Test.