British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a further tightening of rules on EU immigration, in an effort to counter the popularity of UKIP. The Prime Minister explained the new measures in an article for today’s Daily Telegraph.
The most significant change is in the area of benefits. In future, EU migrants will only be able to claim a maximum of three months’ out-of-work benefits. At present, they can up to six months, and up until recently, they could claim these benefits as soon as they arrived in the UK. Last year, rules were tightened so migrants have to wait three months before they can claim.
Alongside benefit changes, the UK will stop the practice of EU-wide advertising for every job that goes through the Job Centre. This will mean that around half a million jobs will now only be advertised to the British unemployed, unless employers request otherwise.
Under the EURES scheme, foreigners are given hundreds of pounds to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons. On their website there are 2.4m jobs from across the EU advertised but nearly half of these are in Britain. They include jobs at the leading supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
“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.”
The government claims these changes will put “Britain first” and ensure that the UK is “a country that is not a soft touch”. But there is also a political element to the changes. UKIP is widely believed to have won the recent European Elections as a result of concern about immigration.
As reported on Breitbart London yesterday, the Conservatives are desperate to win back some of these voters, and Labour believe that if the UKIP surge continues, they will win the general election. This raises the possibility of Conservative MPs losing their seats defending policies they do not agree with, against UKIP activists who are advocating policies they do agree with.
Mr Cameron said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
The policy shift comes shortly after the International Monetary Fund raised concerns that the UKs tougher immigration stance could choke off the recovery. The body recently upgraded Britain’s growth statistics, having admitted it was wrong to claim that austerity would choke off the recovery.