Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Curbs on migrant legal aid claims

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked by the PM to develop a 'residency test' to ensure migrants did not get automatic access to legal aid

David Cameron has signalled that the Government is preparing to curb access to legal aid for foreigners in civil cases.

The Prime Minister told the Daily Express he had asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to develop a "residency test" to ensure migrants did not get automatic access to legal aid for cases in the civil courts.

"One of the aspects that we are reaching fairly early conclusion on is that we can no longer grant legal aid to non-UK nationals or for civil cases, people who are facing housing cases or benefit cases," he said.

"We need a proper residency test for those cases and we're going to consult on introducing one.

"That is just one element of a huge range of measures to make sure that people who do come here are coming here because there is a particular job of work they want to do - rather than coming here because they want to use the health service or get a council house."

Earlier this month, Mr Cameron told the Commons that ministers were looking at a wide range of measures to ensure Britain was not seen as a "soft touch" by foreigners seeking to take advantage of its health or benefits systems.

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