Home Secretary calls for reforms of EU free movement

Home Secretary Theresa May. Credit: PA Wire

Reform of the right to free movement should form part of any negotiations on new arrangements for the UK's membership of the European Union, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

Mrs May said she has already raised the issue with counterparts in other EU states who are also concerned about issues such as "benefit tourism" and movements of workers between countries with wide disparities in incomes.

Reports of a leaked Home Office paper suggest that Mrs May wants to introduce a cap on migration from the EU, possibly at 75,000 a year - around 30,000 lower than the current level.

The changes would mean that professionals and highly-skilled migrants from wealthy countries could move to the UK only if they had a job offer and lower-skilled workers would be allowed to settle only if they were employed in posts where there was an identified shortage.

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Coalition split over EU free movement reforms

A furious row has broken out at the heart of the coalition Government over the right of European Union nationals to work in the UK, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg branding Home Office proposals "illegal and undeliverable".