POLITICS

UK Immigration: Benefit Tourists 'Must Be Clamped Down On' Says Theresa May

07/06/2013 21:48 BST | Updated 07/06/2013 21:57 BST

Theresa May has reiterated her commitment to tackling "benefit tourists", immigrants that move across the European Union to access welfare with no intention of working.

Speaking following discussions at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the Home Secretary said free movement abuse was a problem for a number of EU member states.

She said a commitment to tackle the problem had been secured following discussions with EU partners.

Mrs May said: "We must clamp down on free movement abuse, which takes its toll on our public services and local communities.

"The UK ensured this issue was high on today's agenda, and I am grateful to our EU partners for their increased support following our constructive discussion.

"Ministers have today acknowledged that free movement abuse is a problem for a number of Member States and we have secured a commitment to find EU-wide solutions to this problem.

"Stopping the abuse of free movement will help us to maintain an immigration system that works in the UK's national interest.

"But this is not a problem for the UK alone. That is why we are continuing to develop a consistent and collaborative approach across the EU."

The Cabinet minister reportedly has the backing of Germany to tackle so-called "benefit tourists".

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David Cameron has already warned those coming to Britain they can no longer expect "something for nothing," and is to clamp down on migrants with tougher curbs on benefits.

Romanians in particular have been the focus of many ministers worried about the mass migration of Eastern European when border controls are relaxed next year.

John Bercow has been accused of abandoning political neutrality after he suggested many Eastern European immigrants worked harder than British people.

During a visit to Romania last week the Speaker is reported to have also criticised the British press for its anti-migrant tone.

"I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration – any state that wants to protect its own people should do this – but there are also great advantages," he said.

"I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven't always seen in our labour force."

Brindusa Deac, who works for Romanian recruitment website Tjobs.ro, told the Huffington Post UK in May the number of job openings available shows Romanians do not need to claim benefits.

More than 47,000 job openings were advertised on their job site offering Romanians positions in England last year, many for doctors and nurses

"We think since there are that many job openings in the UK, Romanians aren't going there for benefits, what would be the value of that?," she told The Huffington Post UK

"More than 90% of Romanians who go to the UK come back. Usually contracts last between three and six months, sometimes a year. The reason Romanians go to work in the UK are specifically for money, they are highly paid and can sometimes earn five times more. They want to earn money and save up and then go back to Romania.

"There will always be a few cases of people who don't want to work, but these are the kind of people who cause problems even in Romania. I'm sure even in the UK there are people who want to stay on welfare, but this is a problem with the system, not with Romania."