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Alliance News

Britain to further tighten benefits for EU immigrants

Wed, 19th Feb 2014 10:56

London (Alliance News) - Britain is to further tighten benefits for European workers, the Department for Work and Pensions announced on Wednesday, the latest in a series of measures aimed at cracking down on immigration.

From March, immigrants from the European Economic Area will have to prove that they earn around 150 pounds (250 dollars) a week in order to qualify for "worker" status, which gives them access to better benefits.

"As part of the government's long-term economic plan we have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard, play by the rules and contribute to this country," said Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

"These reforms will ensure we have a fair system - one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage of our benefits system," he continued.

The new measure comes after Britain late last year rushed through a ban on EU immigrants claiming unemployment benefits as soon as they arrive in the country, to coincide with the lifting of EU working restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians in January.

Prime Minister David Cameron has been under pressure to appear tough on the EU and immigration, as opinion polls show his Conservative party losing significant support to the anti-EU UK Independence Party.

His ministers have repeatedly accused some immigrants from poorer EU countries of "benefit tourism," though experts say that immigrants tend to be younger and more likely to be in work than the average Briton.

Copyright dpa

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