Poll: What do you think about David Cameron’s new immigration measures?
PUBLISHED: 16:19 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:19 25 March 2013
PRIME minister David Cameron was at University Campus Suffolk today set out a series of new measures designed to make it tougher for immigrants to claim benefits and use public services like the NHS.
The PM used a keynote speech on immigration to warn those coming to Britain that they cannot expect “something for nothing”.
From next year, arrivals from the European Union will be stripped of jobseekers’ benefits after six months unless they can prove they have been actively looking for a job and stand a “genuine chance” of finding one.
New guidance to be introduced this spring will create a “local residence test” to give local people priority in the waiting list for social housing and ensure that migrants become eligible only after they have been in the country for two years.
Mr Cameron said the Government will also target illegal immigration – doubling the maximum fine for companies that employ illegal workers to £20,000. Illegal immigrants will be blocked from getting a driving licence and the Government is working with the financial services industry to stop them from obtaining credit cards, loans and bank accounts, he said.
And he signalled action against so-called “health tourism” that could mean non-EU nationals have to prove they hold insurance before getting care.
The NHS will be told to improve its performance on collecting fees due under reciprocal arrangements with members of the European Economic Area – the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – when their nationals are treated in the UK.
The PM said that the previous Labour government let immigration to get “far too high and badly out of control” and allowed the benefits system to become a “soft touch”.
He said: “While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration, I have also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled.
“Without proper controls community confidence is sapped, resources are stretched and the benefits that immigration can bring are lost or forgotten.”
Mr Cameron restated the Conservative aim of bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands, and said he wanted to ensure that those who do come to the UK are “the brightest and the best”, who can contribute to the country’s economy.
What do you think about the new measures? Leave your comments below or write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.