EC Publishes "Habitual Residence Test" Guide

By Editorial 16 January, 2014

The European Commission has published a guide for EU Member States on the application of the Habitual Residence Test, which is used to coordinate the provision of social security for EU citizens who have moved to another member state.

The guide clarifies the concepts of "habitual residence" and of "temporary residence" or "stay." These definitions, which are laid down in EU law, establish which Member State is responsible for the provision of social security benefits to EU citizens moving between Member States. Employees and the self-employed qualify for social security in the country where they work, while non-active persons such as pensioners and students and those working in more than one state qualify in the location where they are "habitually resident."

The guide further explains that factors determining "habitual residence" include family status and family ties; duration and continuity of presence in the Member State concerned; employment situation (taking account of location, stability and duration, and, in the case of students, source of income); exercise of a non-remunerated activity; housing situation; tax liability; reasons for moving; evidence of intentions; and other facts that may be relevant.

There are also examples and guidance on cases such as frontier and transport workers, seasonal workers, posted workers, students, pensioners, and highly mobile inactive people. One example given is that a UK national who retires to Portugal and lives there for most of the time has "habitual residence" in Portugal, even if they maintain UK links or property in the UK.

The Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, described the guide as "part of the Commission's ongoing actions to facilitate the free movement of people throughout the EU," and he observed that EU law includes "clear safeguards" to prevent the abuse of social welfare systems of other EU countries.

The guide was drafted in cooperation with Member States and forms one of five actions related to the free movement of citizens and their families announced in November 2013. It is currently available on the EC website in English, and will be translated into all EU official languages in the coming weeks.

Tags: European Union (EU) | Employment | Expats | Immigration | Welfare | Europe | Lifestyle | Immigration | Lifestyle |


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