Work restrictions for Eastern Europeans to stay

Government makes it easier to kick out European criminals
9th April 2009: The Government will not scrap strict working restrictions for Eastern Europeans, Home Office has said.

The Worker Registration Scheme enables the Government to monitor the work A8 nationals do, and where in the country they do it – and so better plan for local services and ensure migration is working for the British labour market and the country as a whole.

Maintaining the restrictions also means A8 nationals will not have full access to benefits until they have been working and paying tax for at least 12 consecutive months.

The decision comes following independent, expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the benefits of the scheme to the British labour market. Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: "Migration only works if it benefits the British people, and we are determined to make sure that is what happens.

"That is why I am delighted to announce that we are keeping in place restrictions which mean we can continue to count how many people are coming here, and which limit Eastern Europeans’ access to benefits."

The number of Eastern Europeans coming to work in UK has fallen dramatically. In the three months to December last year there were 29,000 applications from workers from these countries – down from 53,000 in the same period in 2007.

According to Home Office figures, the majority of workers coming from the A8 countries in 2008 were young – 78 per cent were aged between 18 and 34 – and only 11 per cent stated they had dependants living with them in the UK when they registered.

The Government has also decided to be tougher with European criminals. The deportation referral threshold for European criminals has now been cut from 24 months imprisonment to 12 months for drugs, violent and sexual offences. This means these offenders will be automatically considered for deportation.

Mr Woolas said: "We are determined to remove people that harm our communities – wherever they are from. That is why we are making it easier to kick out European criminals and stop them from returning.

"In 2007 we removed over 500 European nationals. By reducing the threshold for deportation, we will ensure that we can remove even more."

The Government has also introduced tough new powers to remove Europeans who are not exercising their Treaty Rights – by working, studying or by being self-sufficient. This will mean that anyone from Europe who is not playing by the rules will not be allowed to stay.


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