UK - Worker Registration Scheme statistics announced

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The Home Office has released figures showing that over 24,000 Central and Eastern European nationals from the new EU member states had signed up for the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) by the end of June. This Scheme enabled the UK Government to determine whether or not the UK's labour market would be impacted by the latest round of EU accession, by registering those Eastern Europeans who had jobs in the UK.

The figures also show that more than 14,000 of those who signed up were already in the UK, legally or illegally, before enlargement. The relatively small number of "migrants" (i.e. 10,000) shows that there was no major influx of nationals from the new EU member states, and that there is "no evidence" that accession workers were exploiting the benefits system.

The Home Secretary has also said that it looks like the number of individuals registering has peaked.

Another report published last week shows that the number of people arriving from Central and Eastern Europe has increased by 25% each year. However, this does not necessarily mean that all of these people have remained to work in the UK.

Of the citizens from the accession states, 240 had tried to claim unemployment benefits and all but six were immediately refused.

Homelessness assistance was claimed by just over 100 accession nationals but just 21 were successful and these individuals had all been in the UK before 1 May 2004, when the WRS came into effect.

Approximately 190 people from the accession states, however, have been awarded child benefit.

It is expected that those working here from the new EU member states will only do so for a short period of time before returning to their home country, taking with them new skills they have acquired in the UK and generating economic growth and new opportunities back in their own country.

These statistics show that people from accession states made up only 7% of all arrivals in May in the UK from the EU.