Cameron vows crackdown on benefits for EU immigrants

Jul 29, 2014

'You cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing,' Prime Minister declares

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

David Cameron has announced a series of measures to control immigration, including a cut in available benefits for Europeans arriving in the UK.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister said his party's goal was an "immigration system that puts Britain first" and blamed Labour for creating an "increasingly generous, no-questions-asked welfare system which drew migrants to Britain for the wrong reasons".

Cameron said that a new policy of "deport first, appeal later" would also come into force this week for foreign criminals in the UK, except when there is a risk of serious harm in their home country.

Measures announced today included:

A cut in benefits for jobless EU immigrants

The government is halving the time for which European immigrants can claim benefits. European arrivals could previously claim Jobseeker's Allowance or child benefit for a maximum of six months unless they had clear job prospects. This cut-off point will now come at three months. "You cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing," said Cameron.

A crack down on bogus 'colleges'

The coalition has shut down more than 750 sham colleges that were enabling people to arrive in the UK claiming to be students, said Cameron. In one college inspection, no students could be found at all and the inspector was told that they had all gone on a field trip to the British Library. Colleges will be forced to do proper checks on students and will lose their licence if ten per cent of their recruits are refused visas.

A reduction in UK job adverts abroad

Overseas-only recruitment is being banned and the number of UK jobs advertised via Jobcentre Plus on an EU-wide job portal will be "massively" restricted. Cameron said he aims to cut back the number of vacancies posted on this portal by more than 500,000.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary, has promised the party will not engage in an "arms race" on immigration, but said Labour had previously called for proper controls on entry and restriction on welfare benefits for new European migrants.

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