The UK government denies that the residence test is discriminatory, on the basis that requiring a habitual right of residence is a proportionate measure for ensuring that benefits are paid only “to persons sufficiently integrated in the United Kingdom”.

The UK government’s position is that those who are economically inactive should not become a burden on the welfare system “unless they have a minimum degree of connection” with the country.

In his findings, the Advocate General, Pedro Cruz Villalón, said that “the UK legislation does not impose any condition additional to that of habitual residence”. He added: “The right of EU citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states is subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in EU law.”