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Backpackers Denied Job Seekers Allowance upon Return

Taking a gap year, working abroad, volunteering and attending universities overseas are all fantastic ways to gain experience and improve your CV. However, it would seem that the Government are now hindering anyone returning from an extended trip abroad by denying them Job Seeks Allowance (JSA) Benefits upon their return.

Hiking young couple point at panoramic view

On the 1st January 2014 new rules were passed to try and prevent so called ‘benefit tourism’ where anyone can enter (or re-enter) the UK and immediately ask for benefits funded by tax payers. This however has backfired, and means that any Brits who have been outside of the UK for three months or more will immediately fail their ‘Habitual residency test’, and will be denied benefits for a further three months.
If you’re considering an extended stay abroad to gain life experience or improve your CV, the idea of potentially returning to the UK without a secured career position or the option of JSA benefits might seem extremely frightening. However, these new rules shouldn’t prevent you from travelling the world.
Our generation seems to be constantly impacted by Government decisions, for example the increase of university tuition fees from around £3,000 a year to £9,000 a year in some cases! Nevertheless, we Brits love to be the underdog who rises to success, and so these new setbacks just mean that you may need to be even savvier to make your travel dreams a reality.
Instead of considering a gap year because you’re sick of education, really take the time to consider what this trip could mean to potential employers. A black hole on your CV explained by professional ‘beach worshipping’ will not go down well, whereas a few months volunteering or interning will give you both professional and life experience which will appeal to employers.
For more information on the travel options available to you, visit our dedicated Backpacker Advice Page.

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