UK to halve time that EU migrants can claim benefits, says Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to halve the period over which European migrants can claim benefits.

Under the new measures to tighten up the immigration system, from November, European jobseekers will only be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance and other key welfare benefits for a maximum period of three months.

Earlier this year the government announced plans to introduce a minimum three month delay to claiming benefits and to cut off benefits after six months unless the individual has very clear job prospects.

“Hardworking people expect and deserve an immigration system that puts Britain first. Over the past four years we have clamped down on abuses, making sure the right people are coming here for the right reasons,” Mr Cameron said.

The new restrictions were announced as the key measures from the Immigration Act 2014 came into force.

The measures now in force include introduction of enhanced duties for registrars to report suspected sham marriages and civil partnerships.

A new system is now in place to “deport now, appeal later” which will help the authorities to remove foreign criminals. The government holds that if convicted criminals want to appeal against the decision, they will have to do so from their own country.

There are also restrictions on what the government terms “the abuse” of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to family life – by migrants to avoid deportation. Under this rule the right to a family life is not to be regarded as absolute and unqualified.

New powers have been introduced to revoke the driving licences of illegal immigrants. A total of 3,150 have been revoked since its introduction earlier this month.

“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,” Home Secretary Theresa May said. “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 allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain.”

Ms May added: “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.”

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