Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has described his British counterpart’s proposals to restrict immigrants’ access to health care, housing and benefits as “unfortunate”.
In an interview with the TT news agency on Tuesday, Reinfeldt, one of British Prime Minister Cameron’s closest European allies, called on the UK to focus on how to make it easier for immigrants to get work.
"I believe in a Europe that should be open, where we have free movement, and where we instead ask ourselves how people who come here can get work more easily," he said.
Immigrants will face tougher curbs on unemployment and housing benefits and also access to National Health Service (NHS), under a new crackdown unveiled by the British premier on Monday.
Speaking at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich, Cameron said jobless immigrants from the European Union (EU) will have the government allowance ripped from their hands after six months unless they prove they have been actively looking for a job.
Moreover, he announced that companies, which employ illegal workers, will be fined £20,000, double the current amount.
Last week, British Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that the cap on immigration could hurt the country’s economy.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration into Britain has dropped by a third in recent years, from 247,000 in June 2011 to 163,000 in 2012.