UK PM threatens to leave EU if no welfare payments changes allowed

UK PM threatens to leave EU if no welfare payments changes allowed

[JURIST] UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] in a speech Friday raised the possibility of the UK leaving the EU if other member state leaders block plans to restrict access to welfare payments for migrants. Cameron outlined proposed welfare reform [Bloomberg report] which would block European migrants to the UK from receiving welfare payments or state housing until they have been UK residents for four years. Cameron also advocated for restricting unemployment benefits for individuals who do not have job offer before they get to Britain, and deporting migrants if they are not employed within six months. A report [text] released by the UK government Office of National Statistics [official website] Thursday found that “[n]et long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 260,000 in the year ending June 2014, a statistically significant increase from 182,000 in the previous 12 months.” Cameron has campaigned since 2010 on reducing net migration and the issue has been a major policy focus of Cameron’s Conservative Party.

Immigration reform has been a major political concern in a number of countries throughout the globe. Last week US President Barack Obama [official website] announced executive action [JURIST report] on immigration that would allow 4.7 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the US. In October UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [official website] Francois Crepea on Friday urged [JURIST report] British authorities to reconsider their decision not to support search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. In September the Israeli High Court of Justice [official website] on Monday ordered [JURIST report] a detention center used to detain African migrants who had crossed illegally and were captured in the Negev Desert to close.