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INC, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 11825
Experience:  LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
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Hi My parents are EU citizens living in South Africa. We

Customer Question

My parents are EU citizens living in South Africa. We are hoping to have them come and live with us in the UK in the next few years. They would be financially sound enough to purchase their own home and would probably start a small business to support themselves. My big concern is that any pension they would have would be small once converted to sterling from Rand. Would they be entitled to free national health the same as a UK citizen even though they have never worked here and paid national insurance and tax?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  INC replied 5 years ago.



Thanks for your question.


All EEA/EU nationals have an automatic right to live in the UK for three months after their arrival.
If you are not working during these three months, you will not be eligible to:

  • apply to go on the council's waiting list for social housing
  • get help from the council if you become homeless
  • claim social security benefits.

If you are working during the first three months, then the rules for workers apply. People from most EU/EEA countries will be eligible, but there are restrictions if you are from Romania or Bulgaria.


Having the right to reside in the UK doesn't necessarily mean you are eligible to apply for social housing, get help if you become homeless and/or claim benefits. The rules are broadly as follows:

  • Workers and their family members have the right to:
    • apply for social housing
    • obtain assistance if they become homeless
    • claim benefits


This is even the case if the worker is no longer living in the UK, but her/his children are under 18 and still at school in the UK. This right will also apply to the partner/spouse or former partner/spouse of the worker if they are responsible for those children.

  • Jobseekers and their family members:
    • do not have the right to apply for social housing
    • are not entitled to help from the council if they become homeless
    • in some circumstances, may be able to claim some benefits if they are also 'habitually resident' (ie. normally live in the UK).
  • Students who are 'habitually resident' may, in some circumstances:
    • have the right to right to apply for social housing
    • be entitled to help if they become homeless and/or
    • be able to claim benefits in some circumstances.
  • People who are supporting themselves financially and are 'habitually resident':
    • are unlikely to be eligible for help if they become homeless (except in exceptional emergencies) but
    • can apply for social housing.



If you wish to discuss, please feel free to ask further questions.


Kind regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can find this info myself online and have read it word for word on the border agency website. It does not answer my question. Please forget it I will seek advice elsewhere.
Expert:  INC replied 5 years ago.

The answer is there for you. Your parents would be entitled to claim some public funds following a period of three months residing in the UK.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm sorry I'm reading the text different to you. It says they'd be eligible for residency for 3 months not after 3 months??? Are you saying they would have to be living here for 3 months and then become eligible for some benefits? If that's the case then I'm still unclear about medical benefits as those aren't specifically mentioned. They wouldn't need to claim any other benefits other than health care. So after 3 months would they have the same entitlement to a british citizen in the NHS system? This is obviously a huge concern.
Expert:  INC replied 5 years ago.



If your parents would be setting up a business in the UK, then the rules for workers would apply to them. This would mean that after 3 months, they would be eligible to claim some benefits as well as apply for assistance with social housing.


With regard to medical benefits, they would be entitled to this as NHS Treatment does not constitute a 'Public Fund' for UKBA purposes. Although, the rule is slightly different for visitors to the UKA as they have to pay for any treatment.



If you wish to discuss, please feel free to ask further questions.


Kind regards,



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