To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to pages 9-10 of the Memorandum of Understanding between his Department and the Department for Work and Pensions and to pages 12-13 of the Memorandum of Understanding between his Department and HMRC, for what reasons automated residency checks will not check applicants' records on child benefit.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to pages 9-10 of the Memorandum of Understanding between his Department and the Department for Work and Pensions and to pages 12-13 of the Memorandum of Understanding between his Department and HMRC, whether automatic residency checks will give equal weight when calculating length of residence to evidence of (a) one month of employment and (b) one month of claiming housing benefit, employment support allowance, carer's allowance, personal independence payments, disability living allowance, income support, incapacity benefit, attendance allowance, severe disability allowance and/or universal credit.
The purpose of the automated checks is to help the applicant establish their continuous residence in the UK. Eligibility to receive benefits is not dependent upon being continuously resident in the UK. Benefits except Job Seekers Allowance and Maternity Allowance on their own are not strong indicators of continuous residence unless receipt of them persists over a period of 12 months. There are also overlaps with other data that is available from the checks. For instance, PAYE data covers most applicants who claim working tax credits and receipt of other benefits included in the checks will overlap with receipt of child tax credits. Child Benefit is not included in the automated checks because it is not a sufficient indicator of continuous UK residence. A full explanation of how the automated checks work has been published at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-uk-tax-and-benefits-records-automated-check.
Following analysis conducted on an anonymised sample of 10,000 applications submitted under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the Home Office estimated that the potential pool of resident EEA citizens who might benefit from tax credits data being included in the automated checks was around two per cent and this was before any consideration of the applicability of that data to proving continuous residence. Individuals who need to rely on tax credits to demonstrate their continuous residence are still able to provide documentary evidence of this as part of their application.
In accordance with section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, we have had due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty.