The UK Independence Party's candidate in the Eastleigh by-election has called for a moratorium on all UK immigration.
13 February 2013
UKIP candidate calls for UK immigration halt
The UK Independence Party's candidate in the Eastleigh by-election has called for all UK immigration to be halted while measures can be put in place to prevent Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants moving to the UK.
At the end of this year, Romania and Bulgaria will accede to the European Union, giving their citizens full access to the Freedom of Movement directive which, among other things, will allow them to live and work in the UK without the need for a UK visa.
The last time Eastern European countries acceded to the EU - including Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in 2004 - UK immigration rates dramatically increased and the prospect of two more countries acceding has raised several concerns.
The Government is currently reportedly considering a variety of measures to limit immigration from the two countries, from a negative ad campaign to potentially even exiting the EU.
The UKIP's candidate in the Eastleigh by-election however, says all immigration to the UK should be stopped while the UK Border Agency (UKBA) - which has been rocked by the discovery of several backlogs in recent months - is made 'fit for purpose'.
"Immigration is the elephant in the room that the other parties want not to address because they are heavily reliant on unrestricted immigration," said Diane James, who is aiming to become the UKIP's first Member of Parliament.
"In the last few years immigrants have settled in areas where there are a large number of Labour voters.
"On 1 January, 2014, the floodgates will open for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens [to move to the UK]."
Ms James said that while an influx would cause an added burden on public services, the prospect of Romanians moving to the UK caused other concerns too.
"We are not just talking about pressure on services from immigration but also, and I have to say it, the crime associated with Romanians," said Ms James.
"One of the problems with the Olympics last year was the Metropolitan Police having to deal with Romanian criminal gangs pick pocketing.
"Until we sort out the UK Border Agency and make it fit for purpose, the only way is a moratorium on immigration."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.