The move is part of the Prime Minister’s plan to both restrict immigration and end Britain’s “something for nothing” reputation. An earlier plan to ban new arrivals from claiming benefits at all in the first year was dropped for fear of breaching EU law.
The reforms will begin in January 2014, at which point EU nationals will have to prove they are on the verge of securing a job, or forgo out-of-work benefits all together. Council housing rules will also change, so that immigrant families will be kept off waiting lists for at least two years.
The Prime Minister is also expected to crack down on health tourism. Hospitals will now start charging foreign visitors and those from outside the EU will need health insurance before securing a visa.
The proposals have garnered some criticism. Tory councillor Mike Jones spoke out against the housing proposals, saying, “if they are in the country legally, we have a responsibility to do things that are right for people, and that’s housing.”
Meanwhile, David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, said, “public fears around immigration are like fears around crime. They bear little relationship to the actual reality.”
The proposed scheme was criticised by Ukip leader Nigel Farrange who said “Cameron will only create a whole pile of bureaucracy that will affect everyone in the UK, cost the taxpayer millions and will still be riddled with loopholes and therefore totally ineffective.”
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