UK Immigration: Government Announces New Tough Measures

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa met immigration officers and attended an immigration raid in Slough as part of a announcement of ‘a new crackdown on immigration abuses’.  The pair announced a number of measures being imposed on Universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK. There are also plans to halve the period of time European migrants can claim jobseekers allowance and other key benefits for a maximum of three months.

Theresa May: Legislation that will make Britain a Less Attractive Place for those who come here for the Wrong Reasons

From November, tougher measures are being placed on Universities and colleges across the UK, who sponsor international students to study in the country. Currently, higher educational institutions can maintain a Student Sponsorship Licence if the Home Office finds 20% or less student applications to be invalid. In November this figure will be cut to 10%, meaning if more that one in ten application are being refused Universities and colleges will lose their licences to bring in international students.

Theresa May explained the further measures being taken to crackdown on immigration abuses:

“We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law. The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and will allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain. We will always act when we see abuse of our immigration system. And that is why we are tightening the rules to cut out abuse in the student visa system. These reforms are helping to deliver what we have always promised — to build an immigration system that truly works in the national interest.”

European Union Official: No Evidence that Migrants come to the UK to Claim Benefits

As part of the new restrictions, David Cameron announced plans to halve the period of time European migrants can claim jobseekers allowance and other key benefits for a maximum of three months. This is in order to attract migrants to the UK for the right reasons, it is also a warning to those who are in the UK illegally. Despite the reluctance to explain the effect the benefits curb will have, Ministers have claimed that up to £500 million will be saved over the next 5 years.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the number of EU migrants claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) from outside the UK at the time when they applied for their National Insurance card is 5.8%. EU officials have retaliated by saying there is no evidence to show that migrants come to the UK to claim benefits.

Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the European Commission commented on the Prime Ministers announcement:

“(Migrant workers are) of immense economic benefit to the member states in terms, in particular of responding to skills gaps and labour shortages.”

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