David Cameron has ramped up the rhetoric on immigration, promising to make Britain the world's toughest country for migrants.
In an uncompromising interview with the Daily Express, the Prime Minister announced that legal aid would be curbed for foreigners and said the number of arrivals in the UK had been "much, much too high."
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked to develop a "residency test" to ensure migrants do not get automatic access to legal aid for help in benefit cases.
"One of the aspects that we are reaching fairly early conclusion on is that we can no longer grant legal aid to non-UK nationals or for civil cases, people who are facing housing cases or benefit cases," Cameron said.
"We need a proper residency test for those cases and we're going to consult on introducing one.
His comments will not please many Liberal Democrats, as the Tories bid to defeat their coalition rivals in Thursday's vital Eastleigh by-election.
Cameron told the Express of his "immense frustrations" at the Lib Dems' refusal to back his boundary change plans in revenge for the demise of House of Lords reform.
Yesterday the Romanian Prime Minister played down fears of a huge influx from his country when visa restrictions are lifted this year.
But Cameron said he had told each of his ministers to make sure they were not a "soft touch" for immigrants.
He said: “I think the most important thing is to make sure that while you have free movement you are not a soft touch.
“That is why we are going through, in fine detail, our benefits system, our tax system, our health system, our housing system, every aspect of our welfare system.”
He added: “Let’s make sure that ours is the toughest country instead of the softest.”