The United Kingdom has decided to fast-track a bill that would restrict immigrants from other European Union countries from receiving welfare until they have been in the country for a period of three months. The bill also requires that immigrants prove that they are employable and seeking a job after they have received benefits for a half-year period. The goal is to pass the bill now prior to January 1.
Romanian and Bulgarian citizens receive full EU-member rights on January 1. The bill was conceived in the midst of fears that Bulgarians and Romanians would be migrating to the UK in large numbers to receive benefits. British PM David Cameron referred to such a practice as "benefit tourism."
From Sky News:
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested there were more measures to come and that migrants should not expect to claim benefits until they have paid sufficient taxes.
He told Sky News: "In essence, if people travel to another country, in due course, we want to be able to tighten it up so that you remain the responsibility of your home nation until you have demonstrated that you are responsible, you have been earning, you pay taxes and therefore you become eligible for benefits."
This seems to be a common-sense policy. Immigrants are still able to receive benefits from their countries of origin for three months after they arrive in a different country, and it makes no sense for the UK to immediately begin doling out welfare funds.