U.K. to reduce migrant numbers

Britain Prime Minister David Cameron. File photo  

In his much-anticipated speech on migration, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has set out a raft of measures to reduce the number of migrants — especially from the European Union — coming to the U.K.

His speech comes a day after the release of figures which suggest that net migration in 2014 is now 16,000 higher than what it was when the coalition government was formed in 2010. This has thrown completely off track the Conservative Party’s promise to bring down annual migration levels to the “tens of thousands.”

Claiming that in the 30 years up to 2004, long-term migrants to the U.K. was eight million people whereas in the last seven years a further four million migrants entered, Mr. Cameron promised to create the “toughest system in the EU for dealing with abuse of free movement.”

Mr. Cameron said the measure would include, “stronger powers to deport criminals”; tougher and longer re-entry bans for those “who abuse free movement including beggars, rough sleepers, fraudsters and people who collude in sham marriages”; ending the “fraud of sham marriages” which allows any EU migrant to bring in a spouse automatically; and enforcing a rule whereby a jobseeker from the EU must have a job offer in hand to claim benefits.

Mr. Cameron said the British taxpayer supported a typical EU jobseeker with £600 a month but did not substantiate his claim.

Job requirement

The U.K. has already scrapped housing benefit for EU jobseekers, and has limited benefits claims to three months for EU migrants who do not have a job. Around 40 per cent of those arriving in the U.K. do not have work, and they will be asked to leave if they do not find work in six months, Mr. Cameron said.

Going further, Mr. Cameron promised “overhauling our welfare system” with a new benefit called Universal Credit that will replace existing ones. Alongside its introduction, he promised to pass a new EU-compatible law that prevents EU jobseekers from claiming benefits. “So instead of £600, they will get nothing,” he said.

Those who claim tax credits, child benefit and social housing must have lived and contributed in the U.K. for four years. Likening the U.K.’s national welfare system as a “national club”, Mr. Cameron said “It cannot be right that migrants can turn up and claim full rights to this club straightaway.”

Claiming that the U.K.’s economic recovery and its “generous welfare system” were the reason for it becoming the “jobs factory” for the Eurozone countries that are still grappling with soaring unemployment.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 9:15:52 AM |

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