Cameron's immigration speech: Just the policy

Pressure on housing, pressure on public services: Immigration in the spotlight
Pressure on housing, pressure on public services: Immigration in the spotlight
Ian Dunt By

David Cameron joins the arms race between party leaders on trying to look tough on immigration today, but strip out the rhetoric and what are the policies?

Benefit access

  • In early 2014, EU nationals who cannot prove they looked for work six months after arriving in the UK will lose jobseekers' allowance and other benefits. In addition to having looked for work, they will be asked to demonstrate they have "a genuine chance" of finding it, although it is unclear what this would mean in practice
  • A loophole currently exists which allows migrants who lost the right to stay in the UK to continue to receive benefits on the basis of their previous national insurance. This will be closed.
  • The habitual residence test – which migrants sit to access income related benefits – will be toughened up with more numerous, tougher questions.

Public services

  • Local councils will be expected to introduce a local residency test for social housing with a requirement for people to live in the local area for between two and five years before they qualify. There will be exceptions for British families moving because of work or due to relationship break-up etc.
  • Charging for NHS services to non-EU nationals will be made stricter and migrants arriving will be expected to have medical insurance, as is the case in the US or Australia.

Illegal immigration

  • Where there are higher incidences of employment and housing abuse, enforcement agencies will be brought together to focus on the area. Rogue businesses employing illegal workers will have their penalties doubled to £20,000. Biometric residence permits will be used to identify illegal immigrants.
  • Landlords will be required to check the migration status of new tenants by law. Letting agents will also be asked to check their documents. This means UK nationals will also have to show their passports, driving licence or birth certificate. Any landlord who fails to check the document is liable for a fine.


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