We have always been an open nation, welcoming those who want to make a contribution and build a decent life for themselves and their families.
But people have understandably become frustrated.
They want Government to have control over the numbers of people coming here and the circumstances in which they come. And yet in recent years, it has become clear that successive Governments have lacked that control.
So my objective is simple: to make our immigration system fairer, and reduce the current exceptionally high level of migration from within the EU into the UK.
First, we want to create the toughest system in the EU for dealing with abuse of free movement. This includes stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back.
Second, EU migrants should have a job offer before they come here – and UK taxpayers will not support them if they don’t. And if an EU jobseeker has not found work within six months, they will be required to leave.
Third, we want to reduce the number of EU workers coming to the UK – so in the future, they won’t get benefits or social housing from Britain unless they have been here for at least four years.
This is an issue which matters to the British people, and to our future in the European Union.
If I am elected as Prime Minister in May, I will negotiate to reform the European Union, and Britain’s relationship with it. This issue of free movement will be a key part of that negotiation.
If I succeed, I will campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU. If we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.
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