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New UK immigration reforms crackdown on benefits, students and jobs

by Ray Clancy on July 30, 2014

A new crackdown on immigration abuses has been announced by the UK’s Prime Minister and Home Secretary as part of a long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

Starting in November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK. Currently, educational institutions cannot enjoy highly-trusted sponsor status if 20% or more of the individuals they have offered places to are refused visas.

UK vote

The new policies will come into effect in November 2014

That figure will be cut to 10% in November after a three month transitional period for colleges and universities to re-examine their admissions procedures before offering individuals places.

The Prime Minister also announced plans to halve the period over which European migrants can claim benefits. From November, European jobseekers will only be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance and other key welfare benefits for a maximum period of three months.

This follows tough changes announced earlier this year to introduce a minimum three month delay to claiming benefits and to cut off benefits after six months unless the individual has very clear job prospects.

The government has also launched a consultation on banning overseas-only adverts for jobs. Under the proposals, there will be a legal requirement for employment agencies to advertise in Britain and in English. The proposals also seek to restrict the number of Job Centre Plus jobs which are automatically advertised on a European Union-wide job portal.

‘Hardworking people expect and deserve an immigration system that puts Britain first. Over the past four years we have clamped down on abuses, making sure the right people are coming here for the right reasons,’ said Prime Minister David Cameron.

‘At the same time, as part of our long term economic plan, we have been fixing our education, training and welfare problems with radical school reform, record numbers of apprenticeships and an employment rate that has never been higher. All of these measures will ensure British people get a fair deal,’ he added.

The new restrictions were announced as the first measures of the government’s flagship Immigration Act 2014 came into force, which limits the benefits and services migrants can access and makes it easier to remove people with no legal right to be in the UK.

It will also make the UK less attractive to people who want to come to the UK to try to exploit the system, according to Home Secretary Theresa May.

‘We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law. The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain,’ she explained.

‘We will always act when we see abuse of our immigration system. And that is why we are tightening the rules to cut out abuse in the student visa system. These reforms are helping to deliver what we have always promised, to build an immigration system that truly works in the national interest,’ she added.

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