Can Cameron stop the immigration influx?

David Cameron has delivered his long-awaited speech as immigration figures continue to soar.

David Cameron delivered his long-awaited speech on immigration last Friday, promising to clamp down on in-work benefits but not to tamper with the EU's rules on freedom of movement.

His speech came 24 hours after the latest official figures revealed net migration jumped by 43% to 260,000 this year as the country's recovering economy attracted migrants from the European Union and elsewhere.

The scale of the influx left the promise he made in 2010 to cut immigration to the tens of thousands "in tatters", says The Times' Richard Ford.

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There were rumours of caps and quotas beforehand, but in the event Cameron's proposals were measured, says Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. The idea is to "reduce the supposedly seductive lure of our benefits system".

The tighter rules mean a four-year wait before claiming, and a ban on sending child benefit back home. However, they rest on a "series of false premises".

Firstly, most EU migrants come here to find work, not because they want to claim benefits. Secondly, most immigration is not from the EU. Cameron also correctlypointed out that even these changes won't be easy; many will require treaty change.

Other mechanisms could be used, but they are not straightforward and would require the unanimous backing of 27 European leaders.

Cameron's proposals will not restore control of numbers, says Camilla Cavendish in The Sunday Times. It might seem ridiculous to describe the enterprising young Europeans flocking to "our flourishing economy" as an emergency, but "it is".

However "skilled and willing" immigrants are, the sheer numbers arriving every year are putting "unprecedented strain on the local fabric and infrastructure of a small country".

"Poll after poll shows Britain remains tolerant, fair-minded and simultaneously adamant that it has had enough." Instead of making sensible decisions about what skills we need, "we are fuelling resentment and compromising national security".

I do not believe that Britain will turn its back on the world, but if we "cannot regain more sovereignty within the EU, I increasingly wonder if we will have to leave".

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.