Already draining British taxpayers of millions of dollars each year, immigrants with many wives may make even more substantial financial gains under looming changes to Britain’s welfare system, Breitbart reports.
Polygamous marriages are outlawed in the United Kingdom, but are recognized in cases where they legally took place in other countries. A man can hold up to four wives as long as the marriages were lawful in the country from which he migrated.
A House of Commons library paper, published earlier this month, has highlighted a loophole that will allow additional wives coming to the UK to claim a full single person’s allowance while the husband and his first wife still receive their respective benefits.
Currently, the husband and his first wive can receive need-based income support of up to $162 per week. As of 2013, a man can claim an additional $57 for every subsequent wife living under the same roof.
In total, a polygamous household can claim more than $17,000 in welfare over the course of a year. The arrangements are also subject to more generous tax breaks and council benefits to reflect needs for larger properties.
The Daily Caller reports an even more profitable way for polygamous marriages to bring in welfare money is by getting married in a so-called “Nikah” ceremony, which is recognized by Islam, but not British law. The wives will hence appear as “single” in the system, and can take out additional benefits if they have children.
British politicians have been trying to find ways to stop the practice in recent years. New legislation expected to go into effect by 2021, will no longer recognize multiple marriages for the same person.
But “Nikah” marriages will still receive a huge boost from the new law, since women can receive more money under “single” status than she did as an additional wife. The allowance for the extra “wives” will more than double to $454 each per month.
The foreshadowed changes mean some polygamous households may receive more under universal credit than under the present benefit and tax credit system.
It is estimated that there may be as many as 20,000 polygamous marriages in the United Kingdom.