Although they are not EEA nationals, and so require leave to enter and remain in the Common Travel area, nationals of Turkey and the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia who are 'lawfully present' in the UK have almost the same rights to benefits as EEA nationals. This is because these countries have ratified the 'ECSMA' and 'CESC' treaties. (European Charter on Social and Medical Assistance; and the Council of Europe Social Charter).
Nationals of Turkey and the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia, are entitled to HB so long as they are both 'lawfully present' in the UK and pass the 'Right to Reside' test.
'Lawfully present' in this context is very broad. Basically it means they have leave to enter /remain in the UK.
If the leave they have been granted is limited and they have 'no recourse to public funds' then they can still claim benefits as their rights as being 'lawfully present' under these specific treaty rules over-ride the 'no recourse' rules for benefit purposes - so they can claim HB (but note - they might be turned down for Council Tax Support.)Decision CJSA/1158/2015 here.
Which ECSMA or CESC nationals would not be classed as lawfully present?
Examples of persons not 'lawfully present' include a person who:
- has limited leave which has expired and who has not applied in time for a variation of leave so has no valid leave to be in the UK and then applies for asylum.
- arrives in the UK without a form of leave and is therefore an illegal entrant.
Note that even if disqualified because they have no leave, they may qualify for HB under a different route eg as a family member of an EEA national; or under the rules whereby they are a parent and primary carer of a child under 18 who is in education in the UK and that child is a child of an EEA national who is working or has worked in the UK in some circumstances - click here.