A paper issued today by Migration Watch UK reveals that 100,000 dependants of EU nationals resident in Britain entered the UK in the last five years with no conditions attached but with full and immediate access to benefits.
The government’s reform of the Immigration Rules require British citizens to be earning £18,600 before they can bring in a spouse from outside the EU so as to avoid any cost to the taxpayer. However, under EU law, they are obliged to provide favourable treatment to EU citizens including those who may never have been resident here prior to moving with their non-EU family.
Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said “This is a loophole that must be closed and soon. It is absurd that EU citizens should be in a more favourable position than our own citizens. Furthermore, 20,000 per year is a very large number to admit unconditionally, especially compared to the government’s target of tens of thousands for annual net migration.
Notes to Editors:
1 More precisely, this applies to EEA nationals.
2 Example: French or Polish citizens living in the UK can marry someone from anywhere in the world and can bring him or her to the UK even if they do not have a job and cannot support their spouse whereas a British citizen must now be earning £18,600 a year.
3 Examples of Abuse – An Indian national from Goa can obtain Portuguese citizenship if their parents were Portuguese citizens prior to 1961. They can then move straight to the UK with their family using an EEA family permit. On arrival they can avail themselves, immediately, of all the benefits available to UK citizens. There is anecdotal evidence that this has been happening quite extensively. Many settle in Swindon, where around 9,000 Goans now live.
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