370,000 migrants claiming benefits

Published on Friday, 20 January 2012 09:25
Posted by Scott Buckler

Work-related benefits were being claimed last year by more than 370,000 migrants who had originally came to the UK to work, study or visit

The government matched benefit, border control and tax records from 2011.A look at a sample of 9,000 claimants of certain nationalities found 2% were illegally claiming benefits.

Key findings were:

 

  • As at February 2011, over 5 and a half million people were claiming DWP working age benefits. Of these 371 thousand (6.4%) are estimated to have been non-UK nationals when they first registered for a NINo
  • There is significant variation in this rate by benefit type; 8.5% of all Jobseekers are estimated to have been non-UK nationals when they first registered for a NINo contrasted with 3.5% for working age disabled benefit claimants
  • Across all DWP working age benefits, 25% of those claimants who were non-UK nationals at the time they first registered for a NINo were from within the European Union. Of the remainder, Asia and Middle East (34%) and Africa (27%) form the largest proportion of those claimants who were non-UK nationals at the time of first NINo registration
  • Across all DWP working age benefits, the top 20 individual nationalities comprise claimants from across most ‘world areas’; within Asia and Middle East, Pakistan and India, hold the 1st and 3rd nationalities, with Bangladesh (5th) Iraq (6th) and Iran (8th). Somalia (2nd), Nigeria (11th) and Eritrea (19th) are within Africa region; Poland (7th) is the only previous Accession state to appear in the top 20
  • Republic of Ireland, France, and Italy all appear as EU nationals; Turkey as Europe non-EU; and Jamaica as Americas
  • Initial results from a sample exercise to match non-EEA claimants who were recorded as foreign nationals at the time they first registered for a NINo suggests that more than half (54%) will have obtained British citizenship subsequently, and the majority of the remainder will have some form of immigration status providing legitimate access to public funds in certain circumstances. (See Annex A)
  • As at February 2011, 16.6% of working age UK nationals were claiming a DWP working age benefit compared to 6.6% of working age non-UK nationals (at the time they first registered for a National Insurance Number) (resident working age UK population figures based on country of birth 2010, ONS). Claimants who were non-UK nationals when they registered for a NINo may of course subsequently have become permanent residents or British citizens
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