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Benefit Tourism May Soon be a Thing of the Past

Flags of European Union StatesA new European Court of Justice ruling may change the way that the United Kingdom provides benefits to people who are visiting the country from other European Union member states. In fact, the UK could now completely refuse to give them financial help if they are unemployed. This is to help protect the country from receiving European Union citizens who are just moving to the UK to claim benefits.

The ruling on these benefits, which is being referred to as “benefit tourism,” relates to a case in Germany. Despite the case occurring in another country, it could set a precedent for the rest of the European Union. It could even allow the UK to exclude migrants who travel to the country from claiming some benefits.

David Cameron, the British prime minister, said that this new ruling is a very welcome sight. When it comes right down to it, this ruling is simply common sense.

The ruling that is in question centres around a case concerning a Romanian woman and son. The two moved to Germany and were denied non-contributory subsistence payments from the social security system there. The lady, of course, challenged the government and took them to court. However, it was later ruled that the she didn’t have any kind of financial resources to help claim residency in Germany. Therefore, she cannot claim certain benefits.

On a broader scale, the ruling said that the rights of European Union citizens who wish to work and live in different member states doesn’t stop these states from being able to pass legislation to exclude migrants from certain non-contributory benefits. The same benefits that are available to the citizens of that state may not be open to migrants.

That being said, this is not some kind of blanket ban for keeping migrants from claiming any benefits. In fact, the Romanian woman was receiving child benefits from the German government. The ruling simply stated that she could be denied access to other allowances because she wasn’t actively seeking a job. It also stated that she doesn’t have the right to claim that she is a resident of Germany because she doesn’t have a sufficient source of income to support her family.

So what does this really mean? Member states are done handing out free rides. No longer will people be able to travel to a new member state just to claim benefits. In order to claim benefits, migrants have to work and contribute to the country. They don’t just get to come in and take the money that other people have worked to put into the system.

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