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Unemployment: Foreign Workers

Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of A2 and A8 migration on (a) unemployment and (b) measures to tackle unemployment in the UK. (122313)

In February 2006, DWP published a working paper on the impact of free movement of workers from Central and Eastern Europe on the UK labour market; copies have been placed in the Library. The paper found that there has been no discernible statistical effect of A8 migration on claimant unemployment.

A8 migrants can only usually access benefits once they have been working and registered with the Worker Registration Scheme for at least 12 months. A8 migrants not in receipt of benefit are unable to access Jobcentre Plus schemes. Similarly, A2 migrants cannot generally access the benefit system without having completed 12 months legal work.

We are continuing to monitor the impact of accession country migration on the UK labour market.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if (a) he and (b) Jobcentre Plus will take steps to provide further benefit support and advice for A2 and A8 nationals who become unemployed. (122288)

Income related benefits are only paid to people who have a right to reside and are habitually resident in the UK. Most A8 and A2 nationals can only claim in work benefits while they are working as either a registered worker in the case of an A8 national, or an authorised worker in the case of an A2 national.

Once they have completed 12 months continuous employment as a registered or authorised worker A8 and A2 nationals who remain in the labour market have the same rights to access Jobcentre Plus services including benefit support and advice, as other EEA and UK nationals. We have no plans to extend this support.