Workers who come from abroad 

Workers from the European Economic Area

If you come from a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you'll be able to claim WTC, as long as you meet the conditions about how many hours you work, how much you earn and how old you are. You must be working legally in the UK. Workers who come from countries outside the EEA If you're from a country outside the EEA, you may be able to get WTC. You will need to meet the usual conditions about how many hours you work, how much you earn and how old you are. You will also need to prove that you can meet certain residency conditions. 

What are the residency conditions? 

Under the residency conditions, to get WTC you must:   

  • not be subject to immigration control 
  • be physically present in the UK 
  • have your main home in the UK. This means that you've chosen to live and settle here for the time being 
  • only go abroad for short periods, like on holiday. 

Examples of people who aren't subject to immigration control include if:   

  • you’ve claimed asylum and you've been told by the Home Office that you can stay in the UK as a refugee 
  • the Home Office has told you that you are allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely, without any conditions attached. 

Examples of people who are subject to immigration control include if:   

  • the Home Office has given you permission to stay in the UK (known as leave to enter or remain) but only on the condition that you don’t claim benefits, tax credits or housing help paid by the UK government. This is known as having no recourse to public funds 
  • you need permission to stay in the UK (leave to enter or remain) but you don't have it. 

People from some countries are able to claim WTC, even though they're subject to immigration control. These are countries like Turkey or Macedonia which have a social security agreement with the UK that covers tax credits. If you're subject to immigration control but your partner isn't, for example, if they are a UK or an EEA national, they may be able to claim WTC for both of you. 

For more information about whether you might be subject to immigration control, go to the HMRC website at: 

If you're not sure whether you're subject to immigration control, you should get advice from an experienced adviser before claiming WTC. You can also phone the Tax Credit Helpline for advice (see below). 

If you make a claim for WTC when you're not entitled, it could affect your right to stay in the UK. 

If you've come to the UK but your family has stayed behind

If you've come to the UK from a country that is outside the EEA or Switzerland you can only claim WTC for your family when they actually arrive in the UK. You won't be able to claim WTC for you or your family if you're subject to immigration control. If your family lives in another EEA country you will sometimes be able to claim tax credits for them. To check whether you can get WTC if your family doesn't live in the UK, go to the HMRC website at: You can also phone the Tax Credit Helpline or get advice from an experienced adviser (see below). 

Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Austria    Belgium    Denmark    Finland    France    Germany    Greece    Iceland   Cyprus    Malta    the Czech Republic    Estonia    Hungary    Latvia    Lithuania    Poland   Slovenia    Slovakia    Italy    Liechtenstein    Luxembourg    Netherlands    Norway    Portugal    Republic of Ireland    Sweden    the United Kingdom    Bulgaria   Romania    Spain    Croatia    

Further help Citizens Advice Bureau Citizens Advice Bureaux give free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to help you solve problems. To find your nearest CAB, including those that give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB, or look under C in your phone book. The Tax Credit Helpline The Tax Credit Helpline can give you advice about whether you can get tax credits. It's open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. The numbers to ring are: tel 0345 300 3900 or textphone 0345 300 3909 - if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. 

If you're calling from overseas you can also contact the Tax Credit Office on Tel + 44 289 053 8192. You can ask the Helpline for someone to translate for you when you call. 

UK Border Agency For more information about immigration matters, visit the UK Border Agency website at Go to Working in the UK and then to For European citizens. 


Extract of factsheet available at

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Task 2 - true or false



We would like to thank the Citizen's Advice Bureau for allowing us to use this factsheet. Further factsheets can be downloaded from this website:

Citizens Advice - work factsheets:

  • Do you know who can get Working Tax Credits?
  • Do you know how to claim Working Tax Credits?
  • Does the government help people with money in your country?