The target is obvious: “An immigration system that put Britain first.” This is the intention declared by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, resuming the battle against the alleged abused made by immigrants from the EU to the detriment of the British welfare system. A battle composed of real cuts, anticipated by the Prime Minister into an article appeared on the Telegraph, measures that would be soon turned into law. First, said Cameron, “making sure the right people are coming here for the right reasons.” How? Halving the period in which EU citizens are allowed to ask unemployment benefits (as well as other kinds of allowances) from six to three months, unless they have real perspectives of finding a new job in the UK. The message to be sent “very clearly,” underlined Cameron is that “you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.”
The British PM has also promised to reinforce the battle against abuses, first of all those committed by students asking for visas enrolling into bogus colleges: “In one of these colleges, inspectors found no students at all.” Against this kind of abuse, “we have taken radical action, shutting down more than 750 of them,” explained the head of the Government, announcing there will be a further cut to licences.
A stop was also established against hunting out cheap labour from abroad: some recruitment agencies, lamented Cameron, have been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for the jobs. These kind of recruitment will be banned, and in addition to this, the number of vacancies posted on Jobcentre Plus and advertised in Europe will be cut from over one million to about 500,000.
This renewed crunch against European immigration, already targeted by David Cameron given the UKIP electoral success – the eurosceptic party has the fight against immigration as its flag – wasn’t exactly welcomed by the European Union. “The free movement of workers is a fundamental principle for the Union and the single market,” said the spokesperson of the European Commission, Jonathan Todd, “were these measures to be finalised, we will have to assess very closely their compliance with European laws.” The new turn decided by Cameron was not welcomed in Brussels, then. Moreover, it is also difficult to understand: “Unemployment benefits are not paid by the UK,” reminded Todd, “but by the country in which immigrants tried to look for a job.” In addition to this, “economic advantages of free movement of workers are enormous for Member States,” added Todd, “because they allow to fill in the gap of competences and job scarcity in some specific branch of the job market.” Several independent assessments, and some studies made by the Commission, underlined the Commission spokesperson, “systematically show that people move to find a job and not to take advantage of welfare systems and that in most of the cases, workers of other Member States are net contributors for the welfare system of their hosting country – they pay more taxes than the benefits they get.”