Thousands of Young Brits Could Be Hit by EU Migrant Benefit Plan

As the government negotiates its EU membership, plans to tighten the benefit rules for EU migrants is currently coming under the spotlight.

One of the key parts of negotiations is a four-year residency test, however lawyers say that only applying a test to migrants would be a breach of EU laws. The government is now thinking about extending the test to all benefit applicants over the age of 18 in the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron said in November that changes to welfare (in order to cut EU migration will be an “absolute requirement” when it comes to his negotiation.

He has urged EU leaders to agree to his “reasonable” proposals, and the key is the demand that migrants who arrive in the UK will need to wait four years in order to get certain benefits, including the child benefit and tax credits.

While ministers want migrants from the EU to have to live in the UK for four years before claiming benefits, unless the EU treaty changes, the move could prove discriminatory, breaching EU law.

If the government chooses to implement the four-year rule from the age of 18, even Brits who have lived in the UK their whole lives would be unable to access benefits from the age of 18 to the age of 22. Around 50,000 UK citizens receive tax credits under the age of 22, and most of these people have children.

Labour party’s Stephen Timms said it sounds like the EU negotiations aren’t going well, and ministers are realising that they may not be able to deliver on their promises.

He also said that the government should try implementing a two-year welfare limit, as they may be able to have more success that way.