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Theresa May Considers Banning EU Migrants From Coming To Britain Unless They Have A Job

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May delivers her keynote address on the second day of the Conservative party annual conference in Manchester, northern England September 30, 2013.  REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN  - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) - RTR3FFSM

heresa May is considering banning EU migrants from Britain unless they have a job, it has emerged as the Prime Minister denied that she has gone “soft” on immigration.

Despite admitting that Britain will only get “some control” over freedom of movement rules after Brexit, it is understood that Mrs May is planning a tough work permit system to ensure that EU migrants cannot come to Britain looking for work.

It came after she was on Monday accused of “back-sliding” after ruling out Boris Johnson’s plans for an Australian-style points-based migration system.

She said that such a system would be “open to abuse” and would entitle migrants to “automatically” enter Britain if they had enough points.

She added, however, that British voters only want an “element” of control over the free movement of EU migrants.

Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, and other senior figures from the campaign to leave the European Union said that they were “worried” about Mrs May’s approach.

The Prime Minister said she will instead balance controls on immigration with getting the “best deal possible for trade in goods and services with the EU”.

Speaking at the conclusion of the G20 summit in China, she said: “What the British people voted for on the 23rd of June was to bring some control into the movement of people from the European Union to the UK. A points-based system does not give you that control.”

She said that shortly after becoming Home Secretary in 2010 she was told by border officers that one of the biggest problems facing Britain was foreign students.

She said: “They don’t speak English, they don’t know which institution they’re going to and they don’t know what course it is they’re doing. And so the system is being abused.

“But because they met the criteria they were automatically allowed in. And that’s the problem with a points based system. What the British people want to see is an element of control. There are various ways in which you can do that.”

However she also said five times that she only wanted “some” or an “element” of control over free movement of EU migrants.

Mr Farage said: “The people were clear in wanting a points-based immigration system, which is why so many went out and voted to leave the European Union. Any watering down from that will lead to real anger.”

The approach has also angered Tory MPs who were part of the Leave campaign. The pledge was at the heart of the leave campaign and has been backed by five serving Cabinet ministers.

It came after Mrs May refused to commit to other key pledges from the EU referendum campaign, including ending Britain’s EU contributions and using the money give the NHS an extra £100million a week.

Mrs May was also forced to defend the fact that the level of migration rose significantly while she was Home Secretary.

She said: “In terms of immigration numbers as Home Secretary we did start putting the numbers down. They have subsequently risen. What we will not have an ability to do is when we come out of the EU have some control on the movement of people coming from the EU into the UK.”


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