Come May, more than 100,000 eastern Europeans to find their way into UK

Look forward to Britain turning more diverse, multicultural, vibrant place
25th April 2011: You can look forward to Britain turning into a more diverse, multicultural and vibrant place as the country gets ready for a new wave of migrants from next Sunday. This follows relaxation in rules on benefits.
Nothing less than 100,000 people from eastern Europe are expected to find their way into the UK after May 1, as they will be in a position to ask for up to £250 a week in handouts. The amount is expected to run into tens of millions of pounds.

In fact, migrants from A8 countries – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will no longer have to register to work for a month or more in Britain. This follows the end of the Workers Registration Scheme.

In the beginning of May, the restrictions, imposed when eight eastern European states joined the EU in 2004, have to be lifted. The action is expected to allow migrants to claim jobseeker’s allowance, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

As a result, thousands of migrants from the former Soviet bloc will within weeks be allowed to claim a range of benefits and work in the UK without registering.

Immigration minister Damian Green claims some of the countries, including Germany and Austria, will open their labour markets to workers from eastern neighbours at the same time the scheme ends in the UK.

In fact, many are expected to be drawn towards Germany and Austria, as these countries are nearer in geographic terms.
Green says the Government will apply transitional controls for all new EU member states in accordance with the relevant Accession Treaty as a matter of course in the future.

They are in the process of delivering major reform to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands with the introduction of a new limit on economic migrants from outside the EU, alongside new proposals to reform other routes of entry, including students, families and marriage.

Reacting to the developments, chairman of the monitoring body MigrationWatch UK Sir Andrew Green says this needs to be watched very carefully, as nobody knows what impact it will have.

Sir Green is also concerned in particular about the developments after similar transitional controls on immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania are lifted in two years’ time. It has led to apprehensions that Roma people would race to take advantage.

Apprehension is also rife that the development will put a greater burden on taxpayers at a time when the Government is imposing severe spending cuts.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not agree. It is insisting that strict rules in place would go a long way in preventing abuse and not to permit "benefit tourism". Rather, protecting the benefit system from abuse was its "number one priority".

The department says it had no option, but to remain in line with national and international obligations.

Professor Krystyna Iglicka, of the Centre for International Relations in Warsaw says these new rules will make Poles feel even more at home in Britain and are another reason why they will never leave.

Conservative MP Philip Davies says as of now it is not possible to predict the number of people coming to Britain, but experience suggested numbers will rise.

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