Mythbuster: 10 Questions Answered on Romanian and Bulgarian Immigration #8

Question #8 – Will they come here anyway for our ‘generous’ benefit system?

Currently the British government currently allows eastern-European immigrants to receive benefits after three months, although this may soon change. 

MP Grant Shapps noted that in his borough he put in measures to make sure local authorities could say if you’ve worked, lived and contributed in an area for long enough you can have access to housing, but those who have just arrived cannot be put top of the list for social housing. There is general consensus among politicians that relatively new immigrants should not be able to take from a public pot they have not significantly contributed to.

In reality, immigrants are far less likely to claim benefits than the UK-born population. After the 2004 influx about half a million poles came to Britain and only 0.06 per cent actually took benefits.

A study conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Centre for Population Change (CPC) also looked at how the UK’s welfare system compared in terms of ‘generosity’ to Europe’s and found that the UK had below average levels of welfare spending among developed nations, with many European countries out-ranking us.



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