View Full Version : Relocation Habitual Residence Test UK recommendation from the UK Migration Watch

08-01-2013, 09:10
The Habitual residence test for the UK is often mentioned and this article from the Uk Migration Watch may be of interest to those considering a return to the Uk..

EU Nationals and access to the British Welfare State

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 08:26 AM PST


1 Once an EU National has been granted “habitual residence” the entire UK benefit system becomes available. Habitual residence is, in practice, very easy to obtain even for the unemployed. In some circumstances it can, in effect, be obtained from day one.


2 All EU nationals have an initial right to reside in the UK for three months. Thereafter, EU nationals can extend their right of residence if they are:

 a jobseeker

 a worker

 a student

 self-employed person

 self-sufficient person

3 To gain full access to the welfare state the EU national has to be considered habitually resident[1]. Factors considered may include the applicant’s intention to be resident in the UK. This can be can be demonstrated by registering with a GP, putting your name on the electoral roll, registering your children with the Local Authority for school, having accommodation available, having your family with you or joining relatives already here. Cases are decided individually based on the applicant’s circumstances– there are no firm criteria which indicate habitual residence.

4 The time an applicant has been resident in the UK is also a factor. However some EU nationals, such as those who have worked in another EEA state, can be accepted as habitually resident immediately on arrival; for others the period of actual residence required is between one and three months[2].

5 EU nationals habitually resident as workers can access all the work related benefits in the same manner as a British national; these include working tax credit, child tax credit, contribution-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance. They can also claim housing benefit and council tax benefit and be considered for social housing[3]. The local authority has to treat any application for social housing in the same way as it would treat an application from a British resident.

6 EU nationals unemployed and habitually resident as job-seekers can claim all the benefits an unemployed British resident can claim. This includes income-based JSA, child benefit, housing benefit and council tax benefit. There is no time limit to being a job-seeker and the benefits can be claimed for as long as someone is considered to be seeking employment.

7 This access to the welfare state will be fully extended to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals when transitional arrangements come to an end on 31 December 2013. Currently the easiest way for nationals of these countries to access the welfare state is to gain habitual residence as a self-employed person. Once habitual residence has been granted it is retained - regardless of whether the person remains self-employed or not.

8 There is no information on the amounts paid to foreign nationals as the UK’s benefit system does not currently record the nationality of claimants since nationality itself is not a condition of entitlement. The government intend to record nationality when the Universal Credit system is introduced, beginning in October 2013.


9 It would be greatly preferable if benefits were conditional on an EU national acquiring “permanent residence”; this requires five years.