African Women Voices
On March 25, British Prime Minister delivered what was supposed to be a speech on a new immigration plan but really became a talk on welfare adjustments.
David Cameron stood in front of cameras expected to outline the new plan, in view of the European borders being opened for Romania and Bulgaria workers in 2014. The two countries will be part of the Schengen area, meaning they’d be able to work and travel from one EU country to another without asking for a visa. This, for the over reacting British country is scaring.
Comforting the worried souls and creating an electorate for his next elections, must be the only reason why David Cameron focused his immigration plans speech on social benefits. These are dispensed by the UK government to either people who need help to pay the rent (Housing benefit) or are looking for a job (JobSeeker Allowance):
The current Home Office Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations state that someone who enters the UK in order to seek employment means they have a ‘right to reside’ as a job seeker. This means they can claim Job Seekers Allowance and other benefits.
But things are going to change based on what Mr Cameron said, who claimed the government “soft touch” on benefits to migrants must stop. He said:
While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration I have also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled.
And as we bring net migration down so we must also make sure that Britain continues to benefit from it. That means ensuring that those who do come here are the brightest and the best the people we really need with the skills and entrepreneurial talent to create the British jobs and growth that will help us to win in the global race.
Cameron’s immigration speech became viral on news channel, like BBC and Aljazeera. The UK media giant reported the news in different ways online and on TV broadcast, where the impression was that Cameron’s speech was labelled as truthful. While online, the news media clarified that while the UK Prime Minister focused on migrants getting benefits, he did not provide any numbers. In other words he was only trying to convince the masses. A very easy job considered the precedents.
Early in March this year, the UK Parliament released a note saying many members were receiving angry emails and letters from voters who accused migrants of accommodating on British benefits. It says:
Members may be contacted by constituents complaining that “illegal immigrants/refugees” in Britain receive significantly more financial assistance from the Government than UK pensioners, citing an email.
It alleges that “if you cross the British border illegally you get a job, a driver’s license, pension card, welfare, credit cards, subsidised rent or a loan to buy a house, free education and free healthcare.” It also suggests that “illegal immigrants/refugees living in Britain” are entitled to financial assistance worth up to £29,900 per year, in contrast to pensioners who, it says, receive only £6,000 a year in benefit. More recent mutations of the email do not include the former statements but still make claims about cash entitlements for the respective groups.
The House of Commons Library first became aware of the email in early 2010 but it has a much longer pedigree.
Both Cameron and these protesters spoke with no numbers under their eyes. Here are some from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration on the current distribution of benefits among migrants from Eastern Europe:
Based on this, only 12,4% of migrants are claiming benefits and 6,5% are in social housing (appartement provided by the government). The major claimant group is constituted by the UK nationals, who based on figures from the Office for National Statistics are more than double of the number of migrants.
Not to mention that for most migrants the best choice would probably be opening their own companies or relying on alternative means to find a job. Throughout the years, many have testified the inefficiency of being on Jobseeker Allowance. Managed by the Department for Work and Pension, the initiative should pay unemployed and help them finding new jobs. But skilled migrants resilience is often stronger and by far more effective than any governmental structure.