The Social Welfare Acts were amended in February 2004 to include restrictions on access to certain social welfare payments. A Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) test was included ahead of the accession of ten new EU Member States in May 2004. The test applies to all people but was introduced to protect the Irish welfare system post-accession. This was deemed to be a priority partly because Ireland has a common travel area with Britain. The basic requirement for a person to be deemed “habitually resident” is to have been resident in Ireland or the UK for a continuous period of two years before making an application for social welfare.