An additional step has been added to the process of finding work and residing in United Kingdom. If you are a jobseeker registered at Jobcentre Plus, you can definitely stay in United Kingdom but you still have to take the Habitual Residence Test first. This test is required so that you, as an immigrant can prove that you intend to stay and build a life in United Kingdom while being employed. If you are still looking for a job, you can apply for a jobseeker status that will allow you to stay in the UK for 6 months. This period can be extended if can prove that you have higher chances of finding work.
The introduction of HRT’s new structure for migrants who want to claim income related benefits is part of the UK government’s economic plan. This has already been implemented in Jobcentres in England, Scotland and Wales.
Taking the HRT is required of those who are British citizens returning to United Kingdom after spending sometime overseas and those who intend to stay and become citizens. The test structure is going to be more rigid and stringent. Questions that will be asked require more detailed actions or answers and immigrants needs to provide more evidence of their efforts to look for a job even before filing the claim. The actual process of filing a claim is an entirely different process that will require huge amount of legwork on the immigrant’s part. For those migrants who will apply for British citizenship, they will be asked about the steps they took in looking for a job even before they migrated to United Kingdom. Their English skills will also be measured to ensure that they are fit to work and live in United Kingdom.
The Habitual Resident Test is required if as an immigrant you want to apply for the following benefits: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and access to local authority housing. But if as an immigrant you are subject to Immigration Control, then you can’t claim benefits.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pension Iain Duncan highlighted the importance and the purpose of taking the Habitual Residence Test. According to him, the structure of the HRT protects the benefit’s system of the UK. HRT ensures integrity and fairness among hard working employees and jobseekers. This test also minimizes the abuse of some individuals who are just interested in visiting United Kingdom indefinitely and take advantage of the insurance benefits. This test is designed to protect the interest of legal workers by providing the financial assistance they need while they are still looking for a job and planning to stay in United Kingdom for a long period of time.
Despite the tedious process that the Habitual Residence Test may entail, it assures immigrants that they are going to be covered if they pass and meet all the requirements. Government agencies are readily available so immigrants can get the assistance they need.