LBW

Thursday, 23 April 2015

OMG: British Citizen Told To Write Immigration Test!!

A STEVENSTON man who signed on after returning from working in India has had to pass an immigration test to qualify for Jobseekers Allowance.



James, 34, is a make up artist working in the film, TV and photographic industries with a portfolio of international clients on his books – including the DWP.

James Clark was born and brought up in Garven Road, attended Glencairn Primary School and Auchenharvie Academy, has a British passport and a National Insurance number – yet the Department of Work and Pensions said he would have to pass a Habitual Residence Test to qualify for benefits.

James, 34, is a make up artist working in the film, TV and photographic industries with a portfolio of international clients on his books – including the DWP.

He worked in Mumbai for two years until his business collapsed due to not being paid for work.

James returned to the UK in December last year and was told he would have to wait three months before signing on so moved back in with his parents.

He accepted that decision, but was astonished to be told last week he would now have to prove his British citizenship to be eligible for benefit.

James said: “I didn’t want to claim benefit – I wanted to get my stamp.

“I can understand the logic. People play the system, come into the country, claim benefit and then leave.

“But they must be able to see my claim is valid as they have all my details on computer. I’ve had a National Insurance number since I was 16.”

When James asked how he was supposed to manage without money, he claims Jobcentre staff advised him the quickest way to get benefits would be to declare himself homeless and he would be given Foodbank vouchers.

James added: “I feel let down by the system. The job market in this area is bad. There is nothing out there. The system that tells you to go out and make something for yourself lets you down when you need support.

“It’s hard to take to come back into your own country and be told you have to take an immigration test.

“They asked me if I had a British passport and I told them ‘how do you think I got out of the country in the first place?’”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “There are strict rules in place to protect the British benefits system and make sure it is not abused.

“As has always been the case, anyone who chooses to live abroad – and so isn’t contributing in Britain – must, if they return to the UK and want to claim benefits, prove that they have strong ties to this country in order to pass the Habitual Residence Test.

“Rules which came into force on January 1, 2014 mean that someone has to be living in this country for three months before they can take the Habitual Residence Test.

“The rules apply to migrants from all European Economic Area countries coming here to look for work including British nationals returning to the UK after a period living abroad.”

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