EU migrants can be excluded from social benefits for the first 3 months of their stay even if they are seeking work, according to an opinion given today by an Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice.
The opinion goes further than a recent judgement by the court (Dano), which ruled that EU nationals who move to another EU country without intending to find a job can be excluded from social benefits.
The case concerned a Spanish national who was seeking work in Germany and was excluded from social benefits during the first three months of his stay. The Advocate-General ruled that this was compatible with EU law, as these benefits were for social assistance and were not intended to facilitate access to the labour market.
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented:
"This is yet another nail in the coffin of the EU benefit tourism myth.
"It shows the UK government can reform unemployment benefits for EU migrants without having to change a single EU law.
"David Cameron should focus on tangible reforms that will boost growth across Europe, not waste political capital on the red herring of benefit tourism."