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Habitual Residence Test

Home Department written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the habitual residence test.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I have been asked to reply.

We have strict rules in place to prevent abuse of the benefit system and to prevent benefit tourism. One of the principal measures is the habitual residence test. The test ensures that people coming from abroad can only access income-related benefits if they have a right to reside and are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area(1). The Department for Work and Pensions is considering all the details of the European Commission's Reasoned Opinion against the right to reside element of the habitual residence test and is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the UK retains control of its welfare policies.

(1) The UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland.

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