PM to announce tougher immigration benefit controls

by Simone Hinrichsen

David Cameron made an official announcement today defining tougher controls on unemployment and housing benefits for immigrants.

The prime minister used today’s speech to caution those coming to Britain that they can no longer expect “something for nothing”.

“While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration, I have also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled,” the Prime Minister said.

Currently there is no limit on how long migrants from the European Economic Area – the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – can claim unemployment benefits while looking for a job.

From 2014, arrivals from the EU be stripped of jobseekers benefits after six months unless they can prove they have been actively looking for a job and stand a “genuine chance” of finding one.

The government vows to strengthen the “range and depth” of questions in the residence test, which checks that people meet residence requirements for housing and unemployment benefits.

Cameron also targeted illegal immigration – doubling the maximum fine for companies that employ illegal workers to £20,000 – and signal action against so-called “health tourism” that could mean non-EU nationals have to prove they hold insurance before getting care.

We spoke to Bulgarian student Snezhina Marinova, who shares her views on the immigration and benefits for Bulgarian and Romanian students.

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