Prime minister David Cameron has stated that current levels of EU immigration are at a “reasonable level”.
Speaking to the BBC, the prime minister said that he is keen to reassure other Tory MPs about the restrictions in place regarding access to UK visas and the approach to EU immigration patterns, adding that the measures in place to restrict immigration are “sensible”.
Cameron lifted the restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians seeking to work in the UK at the beginning of the year. Immigrants from these countries can now access paid labour in the UK in the same manor as other EU citizens.
However, certain rebels within parliament are seeking to extend the controls on migrants from these countries until 2018.
Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the UK had already extended the restrictions to their maximum length of seven years, adding that his hands are tied over the issue: “Those seven years are now up. We are not allowed to extend them further under the current rules … we have done the extent of what we can do within the rules that were agreed by the last government.”
He added that concerns last year about a predicted influx of migrants were unfounded noting: “I think we can now see at the start of the year so far there looks to be a reasonable level of migration and I hope we can make progress with the bill because it does so many good things.”
The current government has aims of reducing net migration down to the tens of thousands before the next election. It has faced struggles in achieving its aims, particularly with regards to EU migration and disagreement over cutting access to UK work permits and visas.