Immigration: EU Nationals

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 4th January 2016.

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Photo of Lord Kinnock Lord Kinnock Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will provide all factual evidence they have, together with their sources, that UK in-work and out-of-work benefits are a factor in encouraging immigration to the UK from other EU member states.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The benefits system is one of a range of factors attracting migrants to Britain. Net migration to the UK stood at 336,000 in the year to June 2015 according to the November 2015 Migration Statistics Quarterly Report from the Office for National Statistics, and EU nationals are a significant contributor to recent increases. Meanwhile, an analysis of administrative data held by the Department for Work and Pensions showed that between 37% and 45% of all recent EU migrants were in households supported by the benefits system as of March 2013.

The Government has already introduced tough new measures to ensure that EU jobseekers will have no access to means-tested benefits whatsoever as Universal Credit is rolled out.

And now we want to ensure that the welfare system plays no part in the migration decisions of any EU national. The Prime Minister is therefore pursuing further reforms to ensure that EU migrants who come to the UK for low-paid work cannot claim in-work benefits until they have lived here and contributed to our country for a minimum of four years.

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