Rights of Migrants moving within the existing EU

What are the rights of migrants moving within the existing EU?

(see definitions of EU categorization in a separate listing)

All EU15 nationals can enter other member states without a visa for a period of up to 6 months on production of valid identification. EU15 nationals can reside in another member state for more than 6 months if they meet one of the following criteria:
  • are employed or self-employed
  • have sufficient resources and health insurance to ensure they do not seek state or social benefits
  • are a student
  • are a family member (including non-EU citizen spouses) of an EU citizen who falls into one of the above categories

EU15 nationals can apply for permanent residence in another member state after a four year period of legal residence.

Since the 2004 round of EU enlargement, accession nationals have the same rights of free movemnet between countries as EU15 nationals. However during the transitional seven years, EU15 states have been applying limitations to A8 nationals on access to their labour markets.

Welfare Entitlements

Members of both new and old member states are all subject to the same stringent requirements when it comes to accessing entitlements from the UK Government, although the level of provision does vary between visitor and migrant worker.

Any EU25 member national who has been in the UK for some time (usually as a worker) and wishes to claim benefits from the UK Government will be sibject to the 'habitual residence' test. In addition, workers from A8 states must pass a 'right to reside' test. Until they have been in continuous employment (with breaks of fewer than 30 days), A8 workers are only legally entitled to reside in the UK if they are in employment and registered with the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS), they are self-employed and/or have sufficient funds not to seek state funds. Therefore A8 migrants can claim income-related benefits after having been in continuous employment for one year, although they do not have access to child benefits and tax credits throughout.

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