Please note that benefits/ legal information can change frequently and if relying on information it is important to check it is up-to-date. The information on this page is current when we post it but we are all volunteers and we cannot guarantee our efforts to keep the page up-to-date are always successful. Please look out for the notices stating when the page/ section was last updated and double-check anything important for your situation. Sources for current info include our Links page.
The information on this page is aimed at those who are an EU National, EEA or Swiss National, Child of a Turkish Worker, Refugee, under Humanitarian Protection and all other types of immigrant. If you have any useful information please let us know so we can share it here to help others.
May 2019 – for important new information for EEA/EU migrants, settled status and benefits see here.
Migrant Grant Organisations is a list of organisations that offer grants to migrants who have ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.
Also, this document is very useful because it goes into the different types of ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ categories and the legal rights and eligibility of each. Migrants Rights and Entitlements Guidance.
Briefing on benefits for migrants during Covid pandemic
Precarity Office Scotland
Otherwise known as Oficina Precaria or PIE, this feminist collective provides advice & support to all Spanish and non-Spanish migrants as well as workers throughout the UK. Please check out their website for ways to contact them or get involved.
Fighting Hostility with Solidarity: Reflections and Advice for EU and EEA Claimants (new leaflet from ECAP)
The Attack on Social Security & The Situation of Migrants
A brief report from ECAP October 2017. Along with the general attack on social security there has been a particular attack on benefits for migrants. This involves both adverse changes to the law such as the “Genuine Prospect of Work Test” and, sometimes, the denial of legal rights to migrants.
ECAP recently supported a citizen from a South American country whose Job Seekers Allowance was suspended while he had to undergo a ”Habitual Residence Test” (HRT) – despite the fact that he had lived in the UK for over 20 years and had passed exactly the same test earlier in 2017. With the support of ECAP the claimant quite quickly regained his benefits, but the situation was very stressful for him.
When challenged about the absurdity and unfairness of this situation, the official at the jobcentre stated that all non-UK citizens were now having to undergo the HRT when they made a new claim, irrespective of other factors such as how long they had lived here.
In another recent case, ECAP, armed with information from the Child Poverty Action Group, succeeded in overturning a decision to refuse an EU citizen benefits. In this situation the DWP were interpreting the law wrongly.
ECAP has fought several cases where “Retained EEA worker” status was wrongly denied, e.g. to migrants who had become unemployed, sick or become pregnant. If you have to do the HRT and you meet the criteria to have retained worker status, then it is important to present the evidence for this. Contact us for details.
ECAP is interested in setting up a working group to develop knowledge and publicity materials on benefits for migrants. Please contact us if interested. One aim could be to produce publicity materials/ web articles to inform migrants of their benefits rights. Another aim could be to explore if there were particular demands that could be made on the Scottish government in terms of improved social security/ benefits for migrants.
Genuine Prospect of Work Test
If you have retained worker status, after 6 months on (income based) JSA you can be in for a GPoW test. This test is defined by law. It is not at the discretion of the jobcentre to apply it when it wishes.
Martin Williams considers the implications of a recent Upper Tribunal case on the correct approach to determining whether a European Economic Area (EEA) migrant has a right of residence as a jobseeker under what is widely referred to as the ‘Genuine Prospect of Work test’ (GPOW).
If you get ‘Permanent Right to Residence’ (PRTR) then the GPoW test does not apply. Further information about permanent residence here.
CPAG document on the rules and regulations: Kapow to the GPOW (November 2015).
Questions asked in GPoW interview: Genuine Prospect of Work (GPoW) Interview Question Set.
Legal advice for EEA migrants affected by or at risk of rough sleeping and for women affected by violence or abuse
Street Aware/EEA Street Homelessness Project provides free, confidential legal advice and information to EEA nationals who are rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping, on their legal rights in relation to their immigration position, destitution and homelessness, and potential exploitation.
The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre provides free, confidential legal advice (provided or supervised by solicitor) to women affected by violence or abuse. They can also provide legal information and advice to professionals who support or advocate for women victim-survivors of gender based violence.
JustRight for Refugee Women provides specialist, targeted legal advice and representation for refugee and migrant women and girls.
Positive Action in Housing emergency relief fund available to migrants otherwise barred from other help – though must be accessed through a case worker. Worth looking into if no other financial help available and at risk pf destitution.
CPAG Advising BME Communities Project free factsheets (scroll half way down the page).
Ubuntu Women Shelter for those in Glasgow who have no recourse to public funds.
Family Reunion Crisis Grant (Scotland only)
From 14 May 2018, people coming to Scotland under family reunion rules can apply for financial help before they arrive. The FRCG will help people with living costs and essential items on their arrival in Scotland. It is hoped it will bridge the gap between arriving and applying for UK social security and the often long wait until any funds are paid. It’s to be administered via the Scottish Welfare Fund which is managed by local councils.
NELMA EEA campaigns and compensation
Last year our friends North East London Migrant Action helped take a legal challenge (as part of a wider campaign) against the government’s racist and hateful policy of detaining and deporting EEA rough sleepers. The policy was found to be unlawful and this month, people affected by this policy have been successful in claiming compensation against the Home Office for their unlawful detention. NELMA want to support others who were detained and deported unlawfully – there are useful fact sheets here in English, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Czech and Bulgarian explaining how people can get in touch with NELMA and good lawyers for support in claiming compensation.
– from London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP)