Cameron: Influx from Bulgaria, Romania Has Been Reasonable
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has conceded immigration levels from Romania and Bulgaria has been ‘reasonable’ since work restrictions were lifted at the start of the year.
In his first verdict on numbers arriving in Britain, the Prime Minister suggested policies imposed by the coalition had prevented a large influx from eastern Europe.
The statement comes a day after Tory MP Nigel Mills made it clear he will force a vote to toughen up the Government’s Immigration Bill.
He wants transitional controls on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, which were lifted on January 1, to be re-introduced.
But Cameron insisted nothing more could be done in relation to workers from the two countries:
‘We have done the extent of what we can do within the rules that were agreed by the last government.’
He stressed that the coalition extended the restrictions from five years to seven years when he became Prime Minister.
‘Those seven years are now up, we are not allowed under the current rules to extend them further.
‘We have paused the Bill over Christmas and now I think we can see at the start of the year that so far there looks to be a reasonable level of migration and I hope we can make progress with the Bill.’
‘I think when new countries join the European Union we should be able to consider, and we would be able to consider, longer transitional periods and we should also be asking the question: is it right to take transitional controls off until those countries reach a level of income per capita which is closer to the rest of Europe.’
He also hinted at the growing tension between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who are deeply divided about how the coalition should act on immigration.
‘I completely and in many ways share the frustrations of colleagues who would like us to go further’, the Prime Minister said.
Amid rising public anxiety before Christmas, Cameron announced EU migrants will have to wait for at least three months before they can claim any out-of-work benefits under emergency regulations which took effect from January 1.
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