What do you need to know about EEA Applications?
EEA Applications for Registration and Permanent Residence are applications we handle.
Migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) who claim to have been in work or self-employed to gain access to a wider range of benefits will face a more robust EEA Application test from 1 March 2014
EEA Applications are necessary in order to help ensure benefits only go to those who are genuinely working. A minimum earnings threshold will be introduced as part of the government’s long-term plan to cap welfare and reduce immigration. This is so our economy delivers for people who actively contribute and want to work hard and play by the rules.
EEA Applications advice UK
Being defined as a ‘worker’ under EU law allows people more generous access to ‘in and out-of-work’ benefits such as ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance’ (JSA), Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. Currently, European Union case law means the definition of a ‘worker’ is very broad, meaning some people may benefit from this even if, in reality, they do very little work.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:
As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, we have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard, play by the rules and contribute to this country.
These reforms will ensure we have a fair system – one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage of our benefits system.
The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.
To show they are undertaking genuine and effective work in the UK an EEA migrant will have to show that for the last 3 months they have been earning at the level at which employees start paying National Insurance.
This is £150 a week – equivalent to working 24 hours a week at National Minimum Wage. An EEA Application migrant who has some earnings but doesn’t satisfy the minimum earnings threshold will be assessed against a broader range of criteria to decide whether they should still be considered as a worker, or self-employed.
An EEA Application migrant who has a right to reside as a jobseeker is subject to other restrictions. EEA jobseekers must live in the UK for 3 months and satisfy the Habitual Residence Test before they are entitled to claim income-based JSA, and from 1 April they will be ineligible for Housing Benefit.
Migrants who are economically inactive are not entitled to claim income-related benefits such as Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. They must be self-sufficient and have comprehensive sickness insurance.
The Government has set out a number of areas where it wants the benefits system to be tightened, and the introduction of the minimum earning threshold will mean all measures will be introduced by April this year.
- from 1 January all EEA Application jobseekers have to wait for 3 months before they can get income-based JSA – this will make sure that only people who have a clear commitment to the UK and plan to contribute to the economy have access to our welfare system
- after three months, migrants will also have to take a stronger, more robust Habitual Residence Test if they want to claim income-based JSA
- If they pass the Habitual Residence Test, EEA Application jobseekers will then only be able to get JSA for six months. After six months, only those who have a job offer or compelling evidence that they have a genuine chance of finding work will be able to continue claiming
- from 1 April, new migrant jobseekers from the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer be able to get Housing Benefit (HB)
Minimum earnings threshold – case study
Mr A, an EEA Application national aged 24, claims income-based JSA on 12 March 2014 and is subject to the Habitual Residence Test. He provides evidence that he arrived in the UK on 1 February 2014 and has been working since 3 February as a horticultural labourer on a zero-hours employment contract. His employment ended on 3 March. His pay slips show he earned:
- £56 in the week commencing 3 February
- £0 in w/c 10 February
- £0 in w/c 17 February
- £25 in w/c 24 February
As Mr A has been employed for just over a month and his earnings have been below £149 a week, he does not satisfy the Minimum Earnings Threshold. He is therefore, subject to a fuller assessment of whether his work was genuine and effective. A Decision Maker decides Mr A’s work activities were marginal and ancillary, and so he was not a worker who could retain that status.
Minimum earnings threshold measure: The level of the minimum earnings threshold will be pinned to the level of the Class 1 National Insurance Contributions Primary Threshold. (PT). The PT is £149 a week (£7755 a year) in 2013/14, and £153 a week (£7956 a year) in 2014/15. This is the point at which employees must pay Class 1 National Insurance Contributions. This is equivalent to around 24 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage.
Under EU case law, work must be ‘genuine and effective’ and not on so small a scale to as to be ‘marginal and ancillary’ – however, there is no clear definition for what this means. Today’s measure will bring greater clarity and robustness to decision-making in this area.
In terms of benefits administered by HMRC, this change of policy applies to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. Eligibility for Working Tax Credit is subject to different rules, which are unaffected by this change of policy. The change also applies to Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit.
The Home Office will still continue to consider EEA Applications for Residence, and EEA Applicants for Permanent Residence.
We understand that many EEA Nationals are concerned to have the claim for a Permanent Resident Certificate to considered by the Home Office.
EEA Applications FAQs
Yes, you can include your non-European Family member a member of your household.
EEA nationals and their family members will be eligible for income-related benefits if:
• They have a right to reside under EU law; and
• They are either exempt from the habitual residence test or they are habitually resident; and
• They meet the conditionality test, that is they can demonstrate that they are available for and actively seeking work.
For claims for benefits made on or after 1 January 2014, no one is considered habitually resident unless he or she has lawfully resided in the Common Travel Area for three months. The Common Travel Area is the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
The Habitual Residence Test (HRT) is made up of the first two parts of the list above: the right to reside and actual habitual residency. It is the key deciding point for eligibility for benefits. The decision is made in a central department based on information submitted by the local Jobcentre Plus via an electronic form, containing an extensive list of data.
Conditionality is a local decision, based on an individual’s compliance with the normal entitlement conditions for the benefit in question. For income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), an individual must demonstrate being available for and actively seeking work. This is becoming increasingly focused – work that the individual can do must be available in the local area i.e. if the person’s background is in construction they must be actively seeking construction work in that area, and if such opportunities do not exist they would have to widen their search. The claimant has to evidence how they are actively seeking work, in accordance with their Jobseeker’s Agreement or Claimant Commitment (a document agreed with their Jobcentre adviser).
For claims made on or after 1 January 2014, migrants claiming JSA who have not worked in the UK must demonstrate that they have ‘compelling evidence that they have a genuine prospect of work’ to continue receiving JSA after six months. For claims made on or after 10 November 2014, the period is three months. Even if they meet this test, the extension is likely to be short term e.g. until a new job begins.
For claims made on or after 1 April 2014, an EEA national whose only right to reside is as a jobseeker is no longer able to claim housing benefit. EEA workers and self-employed persons are not affected.
For claims made on or after 1 July 2014, new jobseekers arriving in the UK need to have lived here for three months to claim child benefit or child tax credit.
If eligible for income-related benefits, then recipients may also be eligible for a range of Jobcentre Plus support to get into employment, on the same terms that apply to other claimants of the same benefit.
New migrant jobseekers from the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer be able to get Housing Benefit (HB) from April, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced.
Yes, The Secretary of State may:
- refuse to issue a registration certificate
- revoke a registration certificate
- refuse to renew a registration certificate
- refuse to renew a residence card
- refuse to renew a document certifying permanent residence
- refuse to renew a permanent residence card
This happens if the refusal or revocation is justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health, or on grounds of misuse of rights in accordance with regulation 26(3).
(2) A decision under regulation 23(6) or 32(4) to remove a person from the United Kingdom, or a decision under regulation 31 to revoke a person’s admission to the United Kingdom invalidates:
- a registration certificate
- residence card
- a document certifying permanent residence
- a permanent residence card held by that person
- an application made by that person for such a certificate, card or document.
(3) The Secretary of State may revoke or refuse to renew a registration certificate or a residence card if the holder of the certificate or card has ceased to have, or never had, a right to reside.
• People who have been continuously living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and apply for British citizenship.
• People who arrived before the cut-off date, but won’t have been here for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
• People who arrive after the cut-off date will be able to apply for permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, under the future immigration arrangements for EU citizens.
• Family dependents who are living with or join EU citizens before the UK’s exit will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK. In these cases, the cut-off date won’t apply.
EEA Application Reviews
See some of our reviews about Shabana Shahab, who will be your lead consultant, her wealth of experience and client management skills is a reflection of why many EEA Applications, have been successfully managed before the Home Office.