EU migrants may be banned from the UK if they do not have a job, under plans being considered by Prime Minister Theresa May.

After saying that an Australian-style points system would fail to curb immigration levels in the UK earlier on Monday (5 September), the British prime minister is said to be looking at a work permit system whereby EU migrants cannot come to the country to look for work.

But the points system that was touted during the EU referendum campaign could be "open to abuse" and would entitle migrants to "automatically" enter Britain if they had enough points, she said.

"What the British people voted for on the 23rd of June was to bring some control into the movement of people from the European Union to the UK. A points-based system does not give you that control," she told reporters at the end of the G20 summit in Hangzhou China.

May also said that one of the biggest problems facing Britain was foreign students who met the criteria and were automatically allowed into the country, even if they did not speak English nor know what course they would be reading.

Theresa May
British PM Theresa May leaves following a news conference after the closing of G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, 5 September. She is said to be considering a tougher alternative to the points-based system that was proposed by Leave campaigners Reuters

"But because they met the criteria they were automatically allowed in. And that's the problem with a points based system. What the British people want to see is an element of control. There are various ways in which you can do that."

However, Eurosceptic MPs are concerned that the government might strike a deal where EU migrants get preferential access to the UK in return for Britain being in the tariff-free single market. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and other senior figures from the campaign to leave the European Union said that they were "worried" about the approach to scrap plans for such a system.

"The people were clear in wanting a points-based immigration system, which is why so many went out and voted to leave the European Union. Any watering down from that will lead to real anger."

Meanwhile, Italy stated that it would start a trade war with Britain to protect its workers' rights to come to the UK.

David Davis MP Brexit migration 2016
Brexit Minister David Davis has faced criticism over his handling of the UK's exit from the European Union. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

David Davis: Points based system is 'too open ended'

Brexit secretary David Davis told MPs the Government was intent on cracking down on EU immigration, although it was under May's tenure as home secretary that it has risen considerably.

He told the Commons: "What the Prime Minister said in China is very clear: she wants a results-based immigration system, one that actually delivers an outcome the British people voted for. She was concerned that a points-based system was actually too open ended."

But Davis was accused of having no details of how the government is planning to embark on Brexit negotiations. Shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who leads for Labour on Brexit, said Davis failed to explain how his government was hoping to win such concessions.

Former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper dismissed Davis's words as an "astonishingly empty statement" with "no plan, no sense of grip, no detail", the Guardian reported.