UK Comes Up with Stricter Benefits Test amid Fears of Bulgarians, RomaniansBulgaria in EU | December 13, 2013, Friday // 15:34| views
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. Photo by BGNES
Fears of an influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants into the United Kingdom as of the beginning of the new year have prompted the government to roll out a more robust habitual residence test.
The test is a list of questions officials at Jobcenters can ask to determine if someone qualifies for Jobseeker's Allowance, the benefit most used by immigrants.
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.
In order to pass a 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.
On 1 January 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to work anywhere in the European Union as the last of their membership restrictions are lifted.
At the end of November British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a crackdown on so-called "benefit tourism", citing fears over mass immigration from Bulgaria and Romania.
Eligibility rules for out-of-work benefits will be tightened and access to housing benefit will be curbed.
But some ministers from Cameron's government and MPs from the opposition are calling for a rebel amendment to the Immigration Bill that would restrict the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants into the UK until December 31, 2018.
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