Trevor Phillips, of the Commission for Equality, said that migrants who stay in the UK only for a short time should pay more for the use of schools and hospitals, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Mr Phillips, who launches the Commission for Equality and Human Rights this week, blamed growing public concern about the number of migrants entering Britain on “bad Government planning”.
He said the current immigration system was not designed to cope with “shuttle migrants”, described as people who “virtually commute from Warsaw or Slovenia“, and recommended a “two-track immigration system” instead.
He said: “It’s not that we don’t want them to come here. But they put a stress on infrastructure.
“You might say they are people who are basically here for work… they and their employers might have to make a contribution, for social insurance for example.”
He added: “That would be one track, a kind of semi-citizenship for transitory workers where temporary migrants pay for public services such as health, education and welfare before being entitled to work here.”
The Government predicted 13,000 new arrivals each year from eastern European accession countries following the expansion of the EU in May 2004. To date there have been around 700,000 officially registered but it is widely estimated that over 1,000,000 Eastern Europeans have arrived in the UK.
Under current EU law, the migrants are entitled to child benefits (even if the child is still living in their own country), tax credits, housing benefit and accommodation after being employed for a year.
This is not the case for non EU migrants on Work Permits, who pay taxes but have “no recourse to public funds”.
Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, said the suggestions would be taken seriously.
Mr Phillips’s comments follow a stark warning by the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, that an influx of migrant workers had placed a strain on resources and left police struggling to cope with certain offences, such as knife crime.
Formerly Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Mr Phillips fought against racial discrimination and for the rights of ethic minorities in the UK.
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