Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
UK calls for reduced migration
After the election of David Cameron as Prime Minister in 2010, the United Kingdom introduced a suite of measures designed to reduce net migration (the difference between the number of immigrants moving to a country and the number or emigrants leaving) to under 100,000 per year (the ‘tens of thousands’).
This set of policies affected only non-EEA migrants, as protection of the right to free movement of people from EU and EEA countries was a requirement of the UK’s membership of the EU. As it became increasingly apparent that Cameron’s pledge could not be met through the measures the government had introduced, the UK made attempts to limit EU migration through an ’emergency brake’ that would limit the welfare access of EU and EEA citizens wishing to live and work in the UK during periods of increased immigration.