Judging from media coverage of the referendum, many Brits would be excused for believing that EU free movement is absolutely unconditional and that the UK has no right to refuse entry to any EU national or prevent them living here long term. Hence the accusations of “uncontrolled” EU migration.
This is false, because the rules are quite clear that EU citizens can be refused entry to the UK on the (rather broad) grounds of public policy, public security or public health. Decisions have to be taken on a case-by-case basis entry can be refused if an individual represents a current and serious threat to the UK.
The Home Office recently confirmed that since 2010, 6,500 EU citizens were refused entry to the UK (see article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36101449).
So let’s be clear: THE UNITED KINGDOM CAN AND DOES REFUSE TO ALLOW SOME EU CITIZENS TO ENTRY THE COUNTRY.
Secondly, EU law is equally clear that an EU citizen can only stay in another EU country for longer than three months if:
- The person can show they are working (employed or self-employed) or have sufficient resources to support themselves e.g. via a pension or other income/savings
- The person has comprehensive sickness insurance to cover their healthcare needs e.g. valid European Health Insurance Card enabling the NHS to claim back the cost of treatment or private health insurance
So this means that EU CITIZENS HAVE NO RIGHT TO STAY IN THE UK LONGER THAN THREE MONTHS IF THEY AREN’T WORKING OR CAN’T SUPPORT THEMSELVES.
Factsheet on the relevant legislation: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_2.1.3.html
EU CITIZENS COME TO THE UK TO WORK AND STUDIES SHOW THEY PAY MORE IN TAXES THAN THEY RECEIVE IN BENEFITS AND PUBLIC SERVICES. So in fact they make a net contribution to the UK economy.
A UCL study showed that from 2001-2011, EU citizens as a whole made a £5 billion net contribution to the UK economy: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1114/051114-economic-impact-EU-immigration
Rapid Formations study found that EU citizens contribute 13.5% more to the UK than they receive in benefits or public services: http://www.cityam.com/213058/eu-immigrants-contribute-463-second-uk-economy
CONTRARY TO TABLOID MYTH, EU CITIZENS CAN’T COME TO THE UK AND IMMEDIATELY CLAIM BENEFITS, but must be genuinely resident in the UK and have contributed in order to pass what is called the “habitual residence test” which requires:
- The person is currently working or self-employed and earning enough to pay national insurance contributions
- The person is self-sufficient e.g. via a pension or savings, or a student
- The person has been living in the UK for at least five years is therefore a permanent resident
Failing the habitual residence test means a person is refused all means-tested benefitssuch as job seekers allowance, tax credits, housing benefit etc. EU job seekers cannot claim means tested benefits for the first three months and are heavily restricted (it’s nearly impossible) to claim after three months, even if they have a verified job offer.
More information can be found here:
Following David Cameron’s renegotiations, in future EU citizens will have to wait four years before being able to claim in-work benefits such as housing benefit in the same way as Brits do:
EU CITIZENS ARE ALSO LESS LIKELY TO CLAIM BENEFITS THAN NATIVE BORN BRITS.
Official government figures showed that in 2015, EU nationals made up 6% of the workforce, but only 2.2% of out of work benefit claims. British And of course some of those EU citizens claiming out of work benefits will have lived and paid taxes in the UK for many years, so it’s only fair that they can claim if they lose their job.
In terms of in-work benefits like child tax credits and housing benefit, EU workers make up around 7% of claims. See UK Parliament report: http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06955.pdf