Just one Romanian national has applied for dole in Foyle

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Just one Romanian national applied for the dole in Londonderry in the first two months after the introduction of a new ‘habitual residence test’ in January: the applicant was unsuccessful.

The Department of Social Development (DSD) has revealed that in January, across the whole of Northern Ireland, there was a total of just 14 applications for Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based) by Romanian nationals and just eight of these were successful.

A breakdown of these figures by area shows that one January application in Foyle was refused.

The majority of applications in January were in East Belfast, with six applications at the Holywood Road jobs centre - all successful.

In February there were a total of 47 applications by Romanian nationals, of which 39 were successful, however, there were no applications in Londonderry.

The majority of applications in February were in West Belfast, with 35 applications at the Andersonstown job centre - 30 were successful.

The total number of applications (61) equates to 0.003 per cent of the total Northern Ireland population.

However, DSD said it was unable to collect nationality data for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS) or Crisis Loans and that it only has data for the two months immediately following the introduction of the new residence rule.

Outside the Belfast area the largest number of applications was two - both unsuccessful in Dungannon in January - and three - all unsuccessful in Newry in February.

DSD explains that: “HRT is the gateway which all migrants have to satisfy in order to claim income related benefits.

“The test applies to any migrant (including European Economic Area (EEA), non-EEA and returning United Kingdom nationals) who make a claim to Income Based JSA, Income Related ESA, IS or State Pension Credit.

“These claimants are only entitled to claim benefits if they can prove both that they are legally allowed to be here and that they have established sifficient ties to the UK to prove that they are ‘habitually resident.’”