Cameron unveils sweeping immigration crackdown
Updated: 2013-03-25 09:28
"SOMETHING FOR NOTHING CULTURE"
He will announce new measures to make it more difficult for nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes Romania and Bulgaria, to claim welfare benefits after six months. They will take effect in early 2014.
He will also promise to close a loophole that allows some people who have no right to work in Britain to claim benefits and subject newcomers to a much harder test to see if they are eligible for income-related benefits.
"Ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare. We're going to give migrants from the EEA a very clear message. Just like British citizens, there is no absolute right to unemployment benefit," he will say.
Under the plans, newcomers would also have to wait for up to five years before they could join a waiting list for social housing, and face "stricter charging" to use the health service or be obliged to have private health insurance.
"We should be clear that what we have is a free National Health Service, not a free International Health Service," Cameron will say.
His initiative has already been criticised by David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, who told The Observer newspaper that politicians were exaggerating the immigration problem and considering "disproportionate" measures.
Last Friday, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat party, the junior member of Cameron's coalition, said Britain was considering obliging visitors from "high-risk" countries to hand over a returnable cash bond to deter them from overstaying their visas.
He also abandoned a promise to amnesty illegal immigrants after ten years.
Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, said on Saturday that the unexpected success of his own party had shifted the debate on immigration.
"If UKIP had not taken on this immigration debate, the others would not be talking about it at all," he told his party conference.