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British immigration debate ongoing

March 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, March 25 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to issue identification cards to new migrants from other Eurozone countries is controversial, officials said.

For starters, though the euro pact explicitly allows citizens in all eurozone countries to move freely across the continent, the rules allow countries to set their own rules to deal with people who permanently move from one country to another, The Guardian said Monday.

In England, Parliament has allowed localities to make their own rules about whether to afford new migrants, many from poorer eastern European countries, with housing and access to healthcare. Cameron called the latter "health tourism," meaning people from poorer Eurozone states move to Great Britain when they're sick because the country affords them access to a better health care system for free.

Cameron has said the 2 million migrants living in Great Britain should have to have a "reasonable chance" of finding a job if they are to stay. But critics, who charge Cameron just wants to brand Balkan immigrants as different, note current immigration rules already have employment provisions.

Furthermore, there's no way to know how long someone's been in the country. Passports aren't stamped with dates upon entry so there's little official record of when they came. That, Cameron says, is why he wants to issue the cards to new comers.

Health Minister Jeremy Hunt said the nation's lax rules on healthcare for visitors is costing Britons better access to the care they pay for, saying England has "some of the most generous rules in the world about access to free healthcare."

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