UK immigration rules could see Britain in court action

30 May 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Britain could be facing court action from the European Union over its UK immigration regulations.

The issue has arisen over the government's attempts to limit migrants' access to benefits in the UK. The European Commission (EC) has issued accusations against Britain, claiming that it is discriminating against the rights of other EU nationals to access benefits in the UK. The EC went on to claim that the UK version of a residence test breaches EU laws that grant citizens the right to live and work in the UK and other EU countries.

László Andor, EU commissioner for employment and social affairs, is taking the case to court on behalf of complaints from EU nationals pertaining to the above. The commission clarified its position, claiming that the residency test imposed in the UK “discriminates unfairly” against non-British EU nationals.

Iain Duncan Smith, the UK's work and pensions secretary, has stated that he will fight the Brussels government “every step of the way” over the accusations. He added that he won't allow the European government to attempt to water down “valuable protections” against the abuses of the British welfare system.

Speaking to the BBC radio service, he added: "The commission is now trying to use freedom of movement as a way in to start controlling what national governments do about those who are not in work in their countries. I think it's a blatant land grab.

"If we do away with our right-to-reside test, what will happen almost immediately is that people from day one will be eligible to income-related benefits."