This guest blog is written by Rebecca Walker, author of the immigration and residence chapters of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and lead author of the new Benefits for Migrants Handbook.
This week sees the publication of CPAG’s Benefits for Migrants Handbook which, many readers will agree, arrives not a moment too soon. 2014 has been a year of yet more restrictions on the benefit entitlements of people who have come to the UK.
Finding accurate information about these changes and their consequences can be tricky. Press releases have been misleading and guidance produced for decision makers has often added additional barriers to be overcome rather than clarity on what the current law actually is.
Constant change in legislation and its interpretation through caselaw will be familiar to those working with either immigration or social security law. Each legal area is complex and for those advising migrants on their benefit rights the need to understand the interrelationship of both legal provisions adds a further level of complexity. When almost every rule has an exception and most exceptions also have exceptions (and occasionally the exceptions to the exceptions themselves have exceptions) then having an information resource that can provide a starting point and an overview becomes essential.
The hope behind the Benefits for Migrants Handbook is that it can provide that information resource. Beginning with an overview of immigration law it then takes the reader through the benefit and tax credit rules that affect non-European and European nationals coming to the UK as well as the rules affecting those wanting to take their benefits abroad. The residence rights of European nationals and their family members are covered in detail and, with the increasing importance of the EU co-ordination rules, readers are given an accessible introduction to the main rights these rules provide. Fully referenced to legislation and caselaw it enables claimants and advisers to locate the law relevant to particular circumstances and so effectively challenge decisions.
Access to accurate information doesn’t remove the problems migrants have in accessing their benefit entitlements, but it is an essential step in achieving remedies.
Benefits for Migrants Handbook is the complete and definitive guide to the social security entitlement conditions that are specific to those who have come to or are leaving the UK. It is designed to be used by migrants and their advisers wanting advice on benefit entitlement.
Thoroughly rewritten and restructured for ease of use, the new edition has been updated to take account of all significant social security changes affecting people from abroad, including returning residents. And it contains expanded sections on right to reside and European law.