The government don’t miss a trick. It has been revealed that British citizens returning to the UK after 13 weeks abroad will face the same benefit restrictions as Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK.
The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that a new tougher habitual residence test will apply to Britons who have been outside the UK for 13 weeks. This is because the Government is unable to discriminate between EU citizens.
The DWP said that returning Britons will have to live in the UK and then answer a “bank” of 200 questions – twice as many as before – to qualify for work-related benefits.
They will also have to disclose details of properties their own in the UK and where their children are at school as part of the toughened test.
The latest plans have been described as totally unfair to British citizens who have paid UK tax. Even the government’s own MPs are critising the move as being a step too far and totally unfair.
James Clappison, a Conservative MP on the committee, told the Telegraph “I think we should be able to control benefits payments to migrants without affecting British citizens who have paid taxes all their lives
“I have every sympathy for people who have paid into the system and are now being adversely affected by EU law”
Keith Vaz MP, the committee’s Labour chairman, added “It is regrettable that measures designed to control EU migration will have a detrimental effect on British citizens returning to their country in order to seek work.
“This I am afraid is because to the panic measures that have been introduced. What this Government should have done over a period of months is to have thought more carefully.
“They ought to have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to conduct proper research into the numbers expected and the consequences of lifting the restrictions from Romania and Bulgaria”.
So if you are thinking of working or travelling abroad next summer – be prepared for a Gestapo style questioning when you return.