The Home Office is making plans for a potential surge in UK immigration as concerns grow regarding the eurozone crisis and Greek workers in particular.
Home Secretary Theresa May told the Daily Telegraph that “work is ongoing” to handle the movement of significant numbers of people should the eurozone collapse.
Millions of people could lose their jobs if Greece leaves the single currency, which could prompt them to seek work abroad. UK immigration could be particularly high due to the fact that it is not a member of the eurozone, which should put it in a favourable position in the event of a euro collapse.
Ms May was asked if emergency immigration controls are being considered. She replied: “It is right that we do some contingency planning on this [and] that is work that is ongoing.”
She added that the government is continuing to monitor the situation and is “looking at the trends” to determine whether or not more migrants are moving from troubled eurozone countries to the UK and if this is likely to increase as the situation worsens.
The preparations could be similar to temporary immigration controls that were introduced by some countries when countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic joined the EU in order to prevent an influx of workers.
Prime minister David Cameron has already stated that the UK has contingency plans in place to handle the break-up of the euro if the situation comes to that.