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Richard Drax MP writes: Question of immigration
12:00pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
THIS week, the Immigration Bill had its first airing in the Commons. I think most of us would agree with it.
It simplifies the process of removal and ends the appeals merry-go-round, which allowed Abu Hamza, among others, to stay long after he was officially deported.
Just as employers must check applicants’ immigration status, private landlords will now need to confirm that their tenants are in the country legally. Bank accounts, driving licences and access to the NHS will be restricted to longer term migrants.
Those here for less than six months will have to pay £200 towards NHS costs. And, at last, from 2014, we will be checking who leaves.
So far, the government has succeeded in reducing the general flow of immigrants, though that decline has slowed. However, EU citizens have a right to move here, use the NHS, find jobs, and, after a year, claim benefits. There are no limits on their numbers.
During the eurozone crisis, some suspected that our generous welfare and healthcare provisions were attracting disproportionate numbers of economic refugees. Britain has long been seen as a soft touch. But, until this week, there was no proof.
Now, we know that between 2008 and 2011, the number of ‘economically inactive’ EU migrants in this country boomed by 78 per cent. Yet the European Commission says new rules, making EU migrants wait a year before claiming benefits, are discriminatory.
And, to make us pay, we’re being taken to court, as they insist there’s no link between this spike in migrants and soaring benefit payments. Frank Field, the respected chairman of the Balanced Migration Parliamentary group, says: “Many migrants are here and they are not in work. So how are they living?”
It’s a very good question and one we need an answer to.
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