EEA nationals, Universal Credit and work-related requirements
In correspondence with the Law Centre, the Social Security Agency has confirmed that EEA nationals in receipt of Universal Credit will not automatically be placed in the ‘all work-related requirement’ group. This follows a change in the legislation in Great Britain. This means that EEA nationals will be subject to work-related requirements on the same basis as all other Universal Credit claimants i.e. their personal circumstances will be taken into account.
The Social Security Agency has confirmed that Northern Ireland’s draft Universal Credit Regulations will not include the specific provision that would have targeted EEA nationals. However, both Northern Ireland and Great Britain retain the power to introduce such a provision at a later date. This power is found in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 to the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015.
We are pleased that this discriminatory provision has now been dropped. The Law Centre and others had argued that such prejudicial arrangements should not be introduced. However, we are concerned that the power to make such arrangements remains in on the statute books. We will keep a close eye on this issue.