Changes to the British welfare system are expected to be a boon for Muslim immigrants with multiple wives.
Muslim couples from countries where polygamy is legal currently receive $652 per month. Subsequent wives receive $228 per month. A new loophole set to take effect in 2021 will allow additional wives to file for benefits as a single person, which translates to $450 per month.
Bigamy is illegal for all other British citizens.
A House of Commons library paper published earlier this month highlighted the potential windfall.
“This could potentially result in some polygamous households receiving more under universal credit than under the current benefit and tax credit system,” the paper read, Breitbart London reported Sunday. “Treating second and subsequent partners in polygamous relationships as separate claimants could in some situations mean polygamous households receive more under universal credit than they do under the current rules for means-tested benefits and tax credits. … This is because the amounts which may be paid in respect of additional spouses are lower than those which generally apply to single claimants.”
The new welfare system, which will be called “universal credit,” or UC, was first introduced in April 2014. Its introduction, which officially phases out polygamy as a means of securing benefits, may actually strengthen the practice.
Philip Hollobone, a Torry member of parliament for Kettering, told the Daily Mail that changes must be made to UC.
‘[Polygamous marriage] is illegal and should be prosecuted as such, and there should be no advantage to polygamy through the pensions and benefits system,” Hollobone told the newspaper on Sunday.
A Times of London report last summer concluded 100,000 British couples practice Shariah marriages, which are often polygamous.
“A leading Islamic family lawyer warned that the increase in Shariah ceremonies among the 2.7 million-strong Muslim population in Britain was also behind a growth in ‘secret polygamy.’ ‘Probably a quarter of all couples I see involve polygamy issues,'” Aina Khan told the newspaper July 3, 2015. “There has been a huge rise in recent years because people can have a secret nikah [Islamic marriage] and no one will know about it.”
News of the upcoming welfare loophole comes at an awkward time for the British government, which previously announced plans on accepting 20,000 migrants from the Middle East over the next five years.
“We will continue to show the world that this country is a country of extra compassion, always standing up for our values and helping those in need,” Prime Minister David Cameron said Sept. 7, 2015, BBC reported.