What is Habitual Residence Test?

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Habitual Residence Test

Habitual Residence Test (HRT) is a process in which a European Economic Area (EEA) national or an immigrant must undergo to have claim on social benefits that British citizens enjoy. As what the title suggests, “Habitual Residence” means that someone needs to have residence in the United Kingdom for a certain period of time. Also, one doesn’t become a habitual resident upon arrival. He or she must have the intention of settling in the country. There is no fixed period of time as to how long do the test lasts but according to benefits case law, the test lies between one to three months.

The factors that affect the period of time of HRT are:

– The length and continuity of residence
– Future plans or intentions
– Employment options and prospects
– Reasons for coming or staying in the UK
– Center of interest

Habitual Residence can be lost in a single day especially if a person decides to leave UK and migrate to another country. However, some points are being applied when it comes to temporary absence. Once a person with an established habitual residence left the UK, his or her habitual residence will resume immediately after returning from work in EEA member state and/ or if their absence is short (e.g. holidays). On the other hand, longer absences require evaluation of the circumstances in which the person left and returned, their reason of absence and any relevant issues concerning their residence in the UK.

As part of this test, one must also pass or prove that he or she has the right to reside in the UK. He can argue the following reasons to have the said right:

Working or self- employed
– Job- seeking
– Former worker
– Self- sufficient
– Student
– Have been living in the UK for at least 5 years
– Primary guardian of a child who themselves has the right to reside
– Family member of someone who has the right to reside

The Department of Work and Pensions will ask questions to determine whether a person satisfies the requirements needed to pass the HRT. If not, it is suggested to seek for advice.

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