Immigrants 'need to make a contribution': Cameron

10th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Immigrants hoping to join family in Britain must "make a contribution" and not be "a burden on the taxpayer," Prime Minister David Cameron was to say Monday, days after an immigration spat embarrassed his party.

The Conservative party leader, who stirred controversy in February when he declared that multiculturalism had failed in Britain, was also to demand that potential residents be fluent in English, extracts from his speech released by his office revealed.

Cameron was to add that it was "human instinct" for people to want to be with loved ones, but that they must "have the resources they need to live here and make a contribution here".

"Just scraping by, or worse, subsisting on benefit" should not be an option, the British leader was to insist.

Last week's Tory party conference in Manchester, northern England, was marred by a bizarre row between ministers over an allegation that a Bolivian immigrant avoided deportation due to his pet cat.

Home Secretary Theresa May made the claim during her conference speech and said it highlighted how immigrants were taking advantage of Britain's Human Rights Act, which makes it easier for immigrants to obtain residency on family grounds.

But Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke, a fellow Tory, pounced on her claim and offered a "small bet that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of the ownership of a cat".

Cameron was Monday to call for tougher rules to protect the immigration system from abuse and to ensure that appeals to reside on family grounds were legitimate.

May's Home Office said in July that it would review how Britain deals with Article 8, which guarantees "the right to a family life."

A recent study of 500 migration cases found that over 70 percent of British-based sponsors earned less that £20,000 ($31,100 dollars, 23,280 euros) per-year, Cameron was to reveal.

"When the income level of the sponsor is this low, there is an obvious risk that the migrants and their family will become a significant burden on the welfare system and the taxpayer," he was expected to warn.

Cameron has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to consider new measures to help "ensure financial independence" of new arrivals.

Immigrants have flocked to Britain in the past decade with net immigration at 2.2 million between 1997 and 2009.

On assuming power in May 2010, Cameron vowed to root out abuse of the system and get Britain's borders "under control".

© 2011 AFP

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