EU migrants will have to register for jobs

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Workers coming to Britain from the new EU states will be required to register for jobs, Home Secretary David Blunkett announced today.

Migrants from the largely east European countries joining the EU in May, will also be denied benefits if they do not work.

"For two years, and possibly longer, we will require accession nationals to be able to support themselves," Mr Blunkett told the Commons.

"If they are unable to do so, they will lose any right of residence and will have to return to their own country."

The Home Secretary was responding to concerns about millions of workers from 10 new EU states having access to jobs and benefits in Britain from May 1.

"We welcome people, as we have throughout the centuries, to come to our country to work, to contribute and to be part of our society," he said.

"We reject those from wherever they come, who exploit our hospitality."

Mr Blunkett said the new workers registration scheme would replace work permits for accession nationals.

"This will place an obligation on accession nationals to register where and for whom they are working.

"Their right to work in the UK will depend on their being issued with a registration certificate."

Mr Blunkett said the new controls would help encourage legal working and prevent migrants being drawn into the "sub-economy".

He warned the concessions could be removed at any time if they were found to have a "destabilising" effect on the labour market.

For the Tories, David Davis said the "crisis" response to what was a long standing challenge had led ministers to "misdiagnose it" and produce a bureaucratic solution.

Mr Blunkett said the UK would benefit from new EU citizens working here legally but the Government had to prevent abuse of the benefits system.

"That is why I am confirming today our decision to allow workers from the accession states access to our labour market subject to certain sensible conditions."

Under the registration scheme it would be incumbent on the employer to check the employee had registered.

This would provide "a platform for a national ID cards scheme under which, in time, all non-UK nationals will be required to register".

It would also help with enforcement and accurately determining how many new workers were in Britain.

"It is important to emphasise that the Government retains full discretion to remove all or part of the concessions at any time. We will not hesitate to do so if necessary.

"We will, in any case, be tightening controls and dealing with those who evade their responsibility by the employment of clandestine workers."

Managed migration was good for Britain. "Whether they are plumbers or paediatricians they are welcome if they come here openly to work and contribute."

But those who thought they could come to claim benefits without working were mistaken.

"They cannot draw down on benefits without contributing themselves to the rights and entitlements which should go hand in hand with the responsibilities and duties."

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