Britain frustrated with migration, reaching 330,000 in the past year to March 2015 alone. Home secretary calls for rethink of principle of free movement in EU, blaming borderless system for exacerbating Europe’s migration crisis.
Only European migrants with a job lined up should be allowed into the UK, the home secretary, has said, arguing that current levels of migration are unsustainable.
Theresa May, comments came after figures showed migration to Britain had hit a record high, reaching 330,000 in the past year to March. The rise comes despite a promise made by Prime minster Cameron in 2011 to bring down immigration to the tens of thousands.
“Net migration at that volume is simply unsustainable,” Theresa May wrote in an Sunday Times. “It puts pressure on infrastructure, such as housing and transport – and public services, such as schools and hospitals.”
She argued that the biggest single factor preventing the government from meeting its immigration target was net migration from the EU. “While net migration from outside the EU is 10% lower than it was in 2010, net migration from within the EU has more than doubled,” May said. “That is why this government’s renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU is so important.”
May said that suggesting migration cannot be controlled within the EU – which gives freedom of movement to member state nationals – was “defeatist and wrong” and flies in the face of the evidence.
“Reducing net EU migration need not mean undermining the principle of free movement. When it was first enshrined, free movement meant the freedom to move to a job, not the freedom to cross borders to look for work or claim benefits.”
Four in 10 of the migrants who came to the UK last year came with no job waiting for them, said May, and this “search for a better life” has had huge economic costs for the countries they’ve left behind.
The home secretary said countries across Europe were realising that the Schengen agreement – which produced Europe’s borderless area – has exacerbated the migration crisis that has dominated the continent this summer.
“The events of this summer have shown that the most tragic consequences of a broken European migration system have been borne by those at risk of exploitation,” she said. “And the greatest beneficiaries have been the callous gangs who sell false dreams and trade on the free borders within the EU.”
Looks like inside also is determine to use its influence to force Europe to take similar steps.