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UK faces court over migrant benefits

Source BBC News@

European Court of Justice buildingAction at the European Court of Justice could take years to complete

The UK is to be taken to the European Court of Justice over its alleged failure to correctly assess whether immigrants are entitled to benefits.

The European Commission has accused Britain of discriminating against nationals from EU member states who have been living and working in the UK.

It is alleged an extra test is applied to see if they are eligible to claim.

A British official said he could not comment about court action until the commission made its decision public.

Standard test

But the official added that the British test was a vital and fair tool to ensure benefits were paid only to people who were legally allowed to live in the UK.

The BBC understands that the commission is convinced the UK is breaking EU law and thousands of people may have been unfairly denied benefits as a result.

The commission will announce it is taking Britain to the court in Luxembourg because of the way it assess whether EU nationals are entitled to benefits.

The EU has a standard test that is supposed to be applied by countries to determine a migrant's eligibility for welfare payments.

Refused allowance

The UK uses an additional test which the commission said was discriminatory and may have denied thousands of migrants access to benefits such as child tax credit.

In one case it is claimed an EU national who had been working and paying taxes in the UK was refused jobseekers' allowance after she was made redundant.

BBC Europe correspondent Matthew Price, in Brussels, said it was unusual for such cases to be brought before the European Court and it could take years for a final judgment.

The announcement was certain to infuriate those who believed Brussels already interfered in UK government policy too much, our correspondent added.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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