Immigration and welfare: Where do the Tories, Labour, Ukip and Lib Dems stand?


Click to follow
Indy Politics

David Cameron seemingly used a speech on new benefits curbs for migrants to launch an attack on Ukip and "their snake-oil of simple solutions" when it came to immigration.

So what do are the three main parties' attitudes towards welfare for migrants and what are they proposing around the hotly-debated topic?


Migrants should be barred from claiming in-work benefits such as tax credits and housing benefit for four years after arriving in Britain. They should also only qualify for social housing after four years’ residence.

Jobless EU nationals should lose any entitlement to out-of-work benefits including the new Universal Credit and be required to leave Britain after six months of seeking work. Payment of child benefit to youngsters living abroad should be scrapped. Tougher rules on EU nationals bringing in partners from outside the Union should be introduced.



In-work benefits should only be paid to migrants after two years instead of three months while unemployed EU nationals should have to wait two years before being able to claim jobless benefits. The “absurdity” of child benefit and child tax credits paid for youngsters overseas should end. In a drive to stop employers undercutting wages by relying on low-cost foreign staff, a ban should be imposed on employment agencies which only recruit abroad and the national minimum wage should be enforced more strongly.


Ukip came under heavy attack in Cameron's speech (Getty Images)

Migrants should only qualify for benefits – in-work or out-of-work – if they have paid tax and National Insurance for five years and only be entitled to permanent residence after ten years. People whose “parents and grandparents were born locally” should have priority in the queue for social housing. Other parties’ proposals to cut migrants’ benefits could run into opposition (and the threat of legal action) in Brussels, which is a further argument for leaving the EU and taking control of Britain’s borders.

Liberal Democrats


Migrants should only receive Universal Credit once they have worked for six months – and it should then only be paid for six months. In-work benefits such as tax credits should only be paid to migrants working for the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the minimum wage.

Child benefit payments for youngsters living abroad should be cut (as a first step by paying the rate in the country where the child lives).

Tougher re-entry bans on migrants guilty of identity or benefit fraud should be considered.