Monday, July 28, 2014
David Cameron announces immigration crackdown
David Cameron is to announce tough action on immigration that will halve the amount of time foreigners can claim benefits in the UK.
The Coalition will introduce laws to ensure that European Union migrants can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months, Mr Cameron says inan article for The Telegraph.
The Prime Minister also pledges to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU and announces tough new curbs on colleges offering visas to “bogus” students.
The Government will make changes to the immigration system that put “Britain first” and ensure that the UK is “a country that is not a soft touch”, Mr Cameron says. “We changed the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months,” Mr Cameron adds.
“And we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for. It used to be that European jobseekers could claim Job Seeker’s Allowance or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.
“I can tell Telegraph readers today that we will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.”
Mr Cameron’s latest intervention on immigration will be seen as an attempt to woo back Conservative voters who have defected to Ukip in recent months.
Under measures announced last year, European immigrants have to wait three months before they can claim out-of-work benefits. They can then claim the benefits for a maximum of six months.
Mr Cameron’s announcement came as the International Monetary Fund warned that “restrictive immigration policies” in the UK “could have a negative impact on productivity growth”. In a report on Britain’s finances the IMF, which last week upgraded its forecast for UK growth to 3.2 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2015, said: “Relaxing immigration requirements in areas with labour shortages, such as manufacturing, could provide a boost to productivity and facilitate the rebalancing of the UK economy.” There was anger last year after it emerged that under an EU scheme partly funded by British taxpayers, all positions advertised in UK job centres also have to be offered to workers in European member states. UK firms are given as much as £1,000 as a bonus for taking on the foreign workers.
The EURES scheme offers foreigners hundreds of pounds of funding to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons.
Of the 2.4 million jobs posted on the EURES site, 1,138,847 are posts in the UK. Jobs at UK firms including Tesco and Sainsbury’s are advertised on the site.
Downing Street said that in future, jobs will only be uploaded to the website if an employer specifically requests that the position is offered across the EU. “Some recruitment agencies have even been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for jobs,” Mr Cameron writes. “So we are banning overseas-only recruitment — legally requiring these agencies to advertise in English in the UK. And today we are announcing a further measure. In the past, all vacancies advertised in Jobcentre Plus were automatically advertised on an EU-wide job portal.
“This meant advertising over a million job vacancies across the EU. So we are going to massively restrict this, aiming to cut back the vacancies on this portal by over 500,000 jobs.”
There have also been growing concerns that colleges are abusing immigration rules offering visas for money so that people can come to the UK to work by pretending that they are here to study.
“Some of the most egregious examples were those claiming to be students, enrolling at bogus colleges,” Mr Cameron says. “We have taken radical action – shutting down more than 750 of these colleges. Today we are announcing a further step to make sure colleges do proper checks on students: if 10 per cent of the students they recruit are refused visas, they will lose their licence.”
In his article, the Prime Minister also highlights a series of measures that have come into force in recent days, including new restrictions on abuses of European human rights laws, which immigrants have used to avoid deportation.