"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Saturday 14 December 2013

UK faces EU intervention over tests for migrants

The European Commission may refer the UK to the EU Court over English tests for migrants, said European Union (EU) Commissioner Laszlo Andor on Friday.

In a Twitter question and answer session on the free movement of workers in the EU, the Hungarian Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion said the EU Commission had already referred the UK to the EU Court and would, “… look at [the] latest measures and act again if necessary.”

In reference to the UK government’s response to concerns over Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, the Commissioner said, “[The] UK should avoid rhetoric and measures that run risk of [the] UK being seen by others as nasty.”

In January, the UK will see the lifting of restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers, a move which has garnered widespread opposition from Conservative MPs.

“Responsible politicians should avoid legitimising xenophobic reactions that indeed weaken the European spirit,” said Mr Andor.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith earlier this week announced further benefits restrictions for both EU and non-EU migrants, and returning British citizens who have been living abroad.

Under the new habitual resident test, only migrants who are able to pass a series of tests, including an English test, will have access to benefits.    

“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 and we are taking action to ensure that is the case,” said Mr Iain Smith.

The tougher restrictions will go ahead next week regardless of Brussels’ calls to drop the plans, which could see the UK face court action on the basis of discrimination.  

“[The] EU already has very clear rules - the Habitual Residence Test. [The] UK should apply it (like all other Member States),” said Mr Andor.  

The UK’s existing habitual resident test is being legally challenged by the European Commission for allegedly unfairly and unlawfully denying EU migrants access to unemployment and family welfare benefits, among other allowances.

The Commission believes the test to be discriminatory and not in line with European free movement legislation.

The UK’s efforts to deter so-called benefit tourists have drawn some support from other EU member states, including Austria, the Netherlands and Germany. Yet the EU Commission has dismissed the concerns as scaremongering, with the UK having failed to provide evidence of abuse.  

Mr Andor said, “No EU country has given any hard evidence that widespread or systematic benefit tourism exists.”
Related articles

No comments:

Post a Comment