Somali Woman With No Right To Live In The UK Must Be Given A Council House, According To EU Judges

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim - with her 36" TV

(Telegraph) – A SOMALI WOMAN WITH CHILDREN IN UK SCHOOLS is entitled to state benefits, even if she is “a burden on the social assistance system”, EU judges ruled yesterday.

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim, who has four children, was told she must be given a council house because she was once married to a Danish citizen who briefly worked in Britain.

A verdict in Luxembourg said parents caring for the children of migrant workers, and resident in EU countries are covered under EU rules on freedom of movement – including those who cannot support themselves.

Ms Ibrahim, a Somali national who separated from her Danish husband and is entirely dependent on UK welfare payments, was initially turned down for housing assistance – a decision which she then appealed.

Ms Ibrahim, who is currently living in temporary accommodation in Harrow, told the Daily Mail: “I deserve to be given a proper house. This one is too small for all of us.

“I don’t think it’s fair that the council has put us up in temporary accommodation. All these threats of eviction have made me feel very ill. The law says that I can get a better house so I’m looking forward to a better life.”

Ms Ibrahim arrived in the UK in 2003 to join her husband, named in court as Mr Yusuf.

The couple have four children of Danish nationality, the fourth of whom was born in the UK. Two are in UK state schools.

After working in the UK for five months, Mr Yusuf claimed incapacity benefit, and left the country after being declared fit for work in March 2004. He then “ceased to satisfy the conditions for lawful residence” in the UK, said the judgment.

Ms Ibrahim remained in the UK, separated from her husband, and, said the court, “was never self-sufficient, and depends entirely on social assistance”.

“She does not have comprehensive sickness insurance cover and relies on the National Health Service,” the judgment added.

Her application for housing assistance for herself and her children was rejected on the ground that only people with a right of residence under EU law could apply, and neither she not Mr Yusuf were by then considered resident in the UK under EU law.

Today’s judgment said: “A parent caring for the child of a migrant worker who is in education in the host Member State has a right of residence in that State.

“That right is not conditional on the parent having sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system.”

EU rules say that members of the family of a migrant worker who is a national of one EU country and employed in another have residency rights with that worker, whatever their nationality – a right that continues even if the migrant worker no longer lives or works there.

The Home Office said it was studying the potential impact of the judgment this afternoon.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We are disappointed with today’s ruling. We will now consider closely the European Court judgments and their implications.”

Harrow Council, the local authority to which Ms Ibrahim applied for housing benefit, slammed the verdict as a potential “floodgates judgment” opening the way for state support for people who had put nothing into the country.

Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane said: “We are now seeing a European Court determining British immigration policy.”

He said: “We are very concerned with this outcome, as it appears to establish a major new legal precedent over benefit claims.

“Harrow Council is studying the full implications of the ruling, but it could well prove to be a floodgates judgment in that people who have not yet contributed to this country or who do not have the means to sustain themselves can now seek immediate help from state welfare services.”