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David Cameron to Propose Stricter Immigration Rules in Britain

Thursday, 21 May 2015

LONDON — Amid rising concern across Europe over immigration, Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil a plan on Thursday that seeks to cut the numbers of migrants coming to Britain and make it harder for foreigners to work here illegally.

A new immigration bill to be proposed by Mr. Cameron will include measures to speed deportations, place new obligations on banks to report customers who are illegal migrants, and give the police powers to seize the wages of those without work papers.

“With this immigration bill and our wider action, we will put an end to houses packed full of illegal workers; stop illegal migrants’ stalling deportation; give British people the skills to do the jobs Britain needs,” Mr. Cameron plans to say in a speech on Thursday, according to excerpts released in advance.

Mr. Cameron’s speech is one of his first since being re-elected this month. While arguing that “a strong country isn’t one that pulls up the drawbridge,” Mr. Cameron plans to promise to “control and reduce immigration” by making Britain “a less attractive place to come and work illegally.”

 “The truth is it has been too easy to work illegally and employ illegal workers here,” Mr. Cameron plans to say, according to the excerpts.

Across Europe, governments are struggling to deal with the flow of migrants from across the Mediterranean Sea, with thousands risking their lives to flee poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.

Britain has made it clear that it will not take part in any plan for European nations to accept refugees based on a quota system. But Britain is also concerned about a large increase in migration from within the 28-nation European Union, whose rules guarantee free movement of people.

Partly because of that European Union policy, Mr. Cameron failed to honor a pledge, made in his first term in power, to cut net migration into Britain to less than 100,000 each year.

Immigration was one of the election issues highlighted by the populist U.K. Independence Party, which also campaigns for British withdrawal from the European Union. The party won around 3.8 million votes in the recent general election but, because of the British electoral system, secured only one parliamentary seat.

Mr. Cameron has promised to renegotiate British terms of membership in the European Union and to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether to stay in the bloc.

On Friday, Mr. Cameron will meet with other European Union leaders at summit talks in Riga, Latvia, giving him his first chance to take soundings about Britain’s demands with colleagues on the sidelines of the meeting.

One of his objectives, in his pre-referendum negotiations, is to win the right to curb certain welfare entitlements for new European Union migrants for four years.

While those talks have yet to begin formally, Mr. Cameron’s planned new domestic immigration bill will feature in his new legislative program, which will be outlined next week.

His package of proposals includes moves to allow local councils to crack down on unscrupulous landlords and evict illegal migrants more quickly, according to Mr. Cameron’s office.

Other measures are designed to speed deportation procedures and place obligations on banks to check accounts against a database with details of illegal immigrants.

Source: The New York Times

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