David Cameron has alluded to the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union unless European partners allow him to restrict benefits for immigrants. The figures released yesterday reveal a 43% rise in net immigration into the UK, which has threatened Cameron’s promise to cut it down before the end of his term in office and has put pressure on him to outline new measures aimed at restricting European immigration.
“Only European immigrants who have been offered a job will be able to settle here. British taxpayers will not support them if they don’t have one. And once they have a job they will not be entitled to social or housing benefits in the United Kingdom unless they have lived here for at least four years.”
Cameron has also said that those immigrants who fail to find a job within six months will have to leave the country. This is the second time that the British Prime Minister has been compelled to give a speech of this nature in an attempt to counteract the rise of Eurosceptic party UKIP. In 2013, he promised to renegotiate UK’s relation with the EU and to call a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member or not. With the UKIP rising in the polls ahead of the elections next year and already holding two seats in Parliament, Cameron has said that immigration will be a key issue in the negotiation.
“If I succeed in the negotiation I will, as I have said, campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU. But if our concerns fall on deaf ears and we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.”
Cameron’s proposals could be accepted by Brussels as long as they don’t go beyond the red line marked by the freedom of movement inside the Union.