TAXPAYERS are forking out millions of pounds a year in benefits to jobless foreigners who have returned to eastern Europe to live at our expense, the Daily Express can reveal.
The Department for Work and Pensions is giving about £300 a month in handouts to migrant workers who have gone home after losing their jobs here.
In another glaring example of European Union rules punishing British taxpayers, the migrants are allowed to claim generous handouts if they have worked in the UK for more than a year.
MPs and public spending campaigners reacted with fury to the revelations, condemning the abuse of our benefits system by EU nationals “milking the system”. In Poland alone, hundreds of migrant workers return to their homeland every week after losing their jobs during the credit crunch. Officials believe between 5,000 and 10,000 returned Poles are claiming benefits from Britain and other EU states.
One Polish official explained. “They have to be registered as unemployed in their host country and then register again when they come home. But they continue to be paid benefits as if they were still living in the country they worked in.”
With latest figures showing unemployment in Poland running at 13.2 per cent, returning Poles are finding it difficult to find a job when they get back. But slack EU laws let them claim nearly three times what they would get from Polish benefits. Tory MP Philip Hollobone, who has given his backing to the Daily Express’s Get Britain Out of Europe crusade, said: “People will be outraged that this flagrant abuse of our benefits system is being allowed to take place under EU rules.
“One of the key things about unemployment benefit is that you have to be available for work.
“Clearly if you are living in Poland or eastern Europe then the search for work is going to be difficult if not impossible.
“People are sick and tired of eastern Europeans milking our benefits system in this way. This is such an outrageous abuse that the Government really ought to be bringing forward proposals to stamp it out as soon as possible.” Charlotte Linacre, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This EU rule makes a mockery of the generosity of our Government.”
In the affluent Polish city of Poznan, which has unemployment of only 3.8 per cent, Rafal Pulkowiak, 25, and his friend Emil Bloch, 24, have just collected their benefit payment slips from the local job centre.
Both have recently returned from the UK where they worked at a Brighton funfair before losing their jobs. Emil said: “The lady in the job centre explained that we were legally entitled to continue receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance under EU laws