26 May 2012

Britain preparing for mass movement from ailing Greece

6:33 pm on 26 May 2012

The British government is planning for a possible surge in immigration from Greece and other European Union countries in response to the eurozone crisis.

Home Secretary Theresa May says work is ongoing to deal with large movements of people in the event of the break-up of the single currency.

Should Greece leave the euro and go bankrupt, millions of people could lose their jobs and may look for work abroad.

There are fears too of the contagion spreading to other weak eurozone countries.

Britain, as a non-eurozone country, may be seen as an attractive alternative, the Press Association reports.

In normal circumstances the government's hands are tied because EU nationals are largely entitled to live and work anywhere in the single market.

But Ms May told the Daily Telegraph the government was "looking at the trends" on immigration from struggling European economies.

She said there was no evidence of increased migration at present, she added that it was "difficult to say how it is going to develop in coming weeks".