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25 March, 2022 Open access

Exemption from habitual residence and past presence tests for specified benefits for people arriving in Northern Ireland from Ukraine

New statutory rule

New emergency regulations have been issued to exempt people arriving in Northern Ireland from Ukraine from the habitual residence and past presence tests required for specified benefits.

In force from 24 March 2022, the Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 (SR.No.149/2022) add those who have left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, and who were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022, to the categories of persons who are exempted from having to satisfy the habitual residence test and past presence test.

In relation to the habitual residence test, the new regulations provide for amendment of the rules for benefits that include income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, universal credit, pension credit and housing benefit, and in relation to the past presence test to the rules for personal independence payment, disability living allowance, carer's allowance, and attendance allowance.

The explanatory memorandum to the regulations adds that -

'An amendment is also made in the listed income-related benefits, to the existing list of persons exempted from having to satisfy the habitual residence test, to make clear that all those granted types of leave outside the Immigration Rules are exempted from the habitual residence test requirement for the listed benefits.

A further amendment is made in the listed disability and carer benefits, to make it clear that persons with refugee status or humanitarian protection under the Immigration Rules, and those granted leave as a dependant of these persons, are also exempted from the habitual residence test requirement for the listed disability and carer benefits.'

NB - SR.No.149/2022 makes provision for Northern Ireland equivalent to that provided for Great Britain by SI.No.344/2022.

SR.No.149/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk