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NO UK BENEFITS FOR EU ACCESSION COUNTRIES

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EU accession nationals will be able to work legally in the UK and ...
EU accession nationals will be able to work legally in the UK and

contribute to our economy, however tough new rules will prevent them

accessing benefits for two years and possibly longer, home secretary

David Blunkett announced today.

From 1 May nationals of the new member countries will be able to move

freely around the EU without immigration restrictions. A new

registration scheme, also announced today, will enable the government

to very closely monitor the numbers of people coming to the UK from

the new EU countries and impose restrictions to protect the labour

market if necessary.

The UK has decided to allow workers to come legally to this country

to help fill labour shortages and avoid fuelling the sub-economy.

The government is also amending the rules under which a range of

social security benefits and public services are provided, including

access to housing support, health care and child benefit, to ensure

that they are not abused.

Mr Blunkett, said:

'The measures we are announcing today send a very clear message - if

you register you can come to the UK to work legally and contribute

but you cannot claim benefits.

'The UK has always welcomed hard working immigrants seeking to better

themselves and contribute to our prosperity. Tougher benefit rules

will make sure our generosity is not exploited.

'The obligation we have placed on working accession nationals to

register with us is part of our wider crack down on illegal working.

It will also pave the way for the introduction of ID cards which will

eventually be given to all EU nationals living in the UK. If the

registration scheme shows an imbalance in the labour market we will

re-impose restrictions.

'These measures will enable the workers we need to work here legally

rather than fuelling the sub-economy - a modern-day slave trade,

exploiting migrant workers and undercutting UK employees.

'This will build on our co mmitment to a flexible but regulated

migration policy. t is in Britain's best interest to welcome legal

overseas workers to help fill skills gaps and the 550,000 vacancies

in our labour market.'

The new 'workers registration scheme' will enable the government to

monitor in what region and what types of employment accession

nationals are coming. If the labour market comes under pressure and

UK jobs are threatened, restrictions could be re-introduced. As soon

as they have found work, nationals from new member countries will

have to register under the scheme. This will prove they have

permission to reside and work in the UK - and will be checked by

employers.

Other government departments will be bringing forward regulations to

ensure that income-related benefits, housing support and child

benefit are not abused.

To ensure that those affected are aware of the new rules before they

come to the UK, the Home Office is working with the International

Organisation for Migration (IOM) to put in place an information

campaign in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. The

campaign will communicate a simple message - 'You can come to the UK

to work, if you register, but you cannot claim benefits'.

Notes

1. The home secretary made an announcement to the House of Commons on

23 January.

2. Regulations will be introduced to set up the workers registration

scheme and to give the right to reside here to registered workers,

and to work-seekers from the eight Accession Countries only if they

are self-sufficient. The regulations will be laid in March 2004 to

come into effect on 1 May 2004.

3. The Department for Work and Pensions will amend social security

legislation so that only people with a right to reside in the UK will

have access to Income Support, income-based Job Seeker's allowance,

State Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

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