British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to cut "unacceptably high" levels of immigration from European Union member states into the United Kingdom in a long-awaited speech Friday.
It came a day after official statistics showed net migration to the U.K. rose to an estimated 260,000 in the year to June. Net migration is calculated by subtracting the number of people leaving the country from the number entering it.
The rise was 78,000 higher than the previous year's statistics.
Cameron previously said he hoped to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 before the general election in May 2015.
Speaking in the West Midlands, central England, on Friday, he said EU migrants must have a job offer before coming to the U.K. and once in work, they cannot claim welfare payments or social housing unless they have been in the country for at least four years.
He said EU job seekers who have not found work within six months will be required to leave.
The prime minster called on other EU leaders to support the plans.
He said: "Immigration benefits Britain but it needs to be controlled, it needs to be fair and it needs to be centered around our national interest."
He said he was "proud we have built a successful, multi-racial democracy."
"We are Great Britain because of immigration, not in spite of it," he said.
Cameron said it was not wrong to express concerns about the scale of people coming into the country.
"People have understandably become frustrated. People want the government to have control over the number of people coming here and the circumstances in which they come," he said.
Freedom of movement is a core principle in the EU, which has 28 member states.