370,000 migrants on the dole
More than 370,000 migrants who were admitted to Britain to work, study or go on holiday are now claiming out-of-work benefits, according to official figures compiled for the first time.
The migrants, who can claim unemployment, housing and incapacity benefit, are costing taxpayers billions of pounds a year.
In other countries, many would have had to return home after their visas expired or their employment ended.
But Chris Bryant, shadow immigration minister, today blamed the Government and said the situation would only get worse due to lax border controls, rising migration and increasing unemployment.
He said: “Tory ministers are resorting to rhetoric and misinformation to hide the reality of their failures on immigration and unemployment.
“Far from strengthening immigration control the Government is returning fewer illegal migrants and net migration has continued to increase. And at the same time increasing numbers of people born here and abroad are on out-of-work benefits because the government’s failure on the economy has pushed unemployment up.
“Ministers should get a grip of rising unemployment and weaker border controls rather than trying to hide behind questionable figures which include people who have been British citizens for many years, and don’t take account of British citizens claiming benefits abroad.”
The figures are likely to reopen the debate over the generosity of the welfare system amid growing concerns that the country has become a destination for “benefit tourists”.