December 2014 EU Migrants Back at the Top of the Agenda


David Cameron has begun the Conservative’s election campaign by pledging that European Union (EU) migrants will not be able to claim tax credits unless they have lived in the UK and 'contributed' for a minimum of four years, if he is returned to government following the general election in 2015.

Mr Cameron set out his plans for the future, that include - 

EU jobseekers will not be able to claim universal credit

If an EU jobseeker has not found work within six months of being in the UK, they will be required to leave

EU migrants must live in the UK and 'contribute' for a minimum of four years before they can be entitled to tax credits and child benefit and 

There will be no child benefit or child tax credit payable in respect of a child of an EU migrant if that child is living abroad no matter how long the EU migrant has worked in the UK and 'no matter how much tax they have paid'.

Quite how this is to be achieved given existing EU regulation is not clear. Perhaps he anticipates a referendum that would see the UK leaving the EU. Meanwhile Labour also sought to show that they were the party able to tackle EU immigration by announcing that Labour would introduce a two year residence requirement for EU jobseekers wishing to claim out-of-work benefits, according to Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves.

She claimed that other EU countries, like Germany, had already gone further than the UK on the issue of qualifying periods for EU migrants and said that Labour would work with other EU Member States to 'end the absurdity' of child benefit and tax credits being paid for children living in other countries and that she was 'determined' to look at possible changes to in-work benefits for EU migrants

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