Migrant jobseekers to face English language test before claiming JSA
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Regulation
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The government has announced that migrants will no longer have routine access to interpreters when they apply for Jobseeker's Allowance.
From the end of April, migrant claimants will face a spoken English test in England - and if their language is found to be a barrier to looking for work, they will be expected to improve it.
The Treasury has also announced that from July, jobseekers arriving in the UK will need to live in the country for three months before they can claim child benefit and child tax credit.
Migrant jobseekers already face a three-month wait before they can claim JSA.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan said: "The government is building a system that is fair and consistent, one that supports those who want to work hard.
"These changes send a strong message that our welfare system is not open to abuse and will deter those who think that they can move to the UK primarily to claim benefits.
"Making work pay is part of our long term plan to ensure that Britain’s growing economy and dynamic jobs market deliver for those who work hard and play by the rules."
After new arrivals to the country have met the three months residence requirement, they will then need to demonstrate that they meet the normal eligibility rules before they can make a claim.
Under the new English language requirement, claimants will be expected to improve within six months and sanctions will apply if they refuse to attend or don’t show they are making an effort to better their skills.
The routine use of interpreting services will stop from today for all new JSA claimants - except for those judged to be vulnerable and in need of support.
Currently, jobseekers who don’t speak English are provided with routine access to interpretation services when they claim JSA, which the government says costs the taxpayer around £3 million a year.
The change will not affect existing claimants, Welsh speakers, or claimants who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired.