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Benefits for Migrant Workers
Friday 13th November the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 had features about the Government looking at rule changes to clamp down on benefit tourism.  It was quite clear that all the rules looked at were going to hit sections of the UK working population and it may well be that the main aim of these suggested rule changes is to cut the amount of in work benefit paid, not to stop benefit tourism.  

Currently the government is trying to work out a change in the rules on in-work benefit - it seems that they are trying to cut the level of in-work benefit available under the pretext of stopping EU migrants claiming it.  

There is a very simple change to the rules on in work benefit that could be brought in without any major impact on most UK claimants which would impact on those benefit tourists who are coming to the UK.  That would be to say that to claim in work benefit you must have:

a) been resident or substantially resident in the UK for at least four of the previous six years.


b) paid four full years of national insurance contributions.

Provided no starting age is set on rule (a) it would permit access to benefits for those aged 18 to 22.  Allowing for any four out of the previous six years would allow for those who go and live or work overseas for limited periods, e.g. gap year students.

Rule (b) would cover those workers who by nature of their work are working overseas for UK based companies, like many of the freelance IT consultants, who continue to pay at least the voluntary contribution in the UK whilst working overseas.

These changes would effectively stop most benefit tourism without hitting those normally resident in the UK or who are contributing via the NI system.

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Benefits for Migrant Workers - by NigelGB - 11-13-2015, 08:46 AM

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