Immigrant families will be kept off council house waiting lists for up to five years under a crackdown being unveiled by David Cameron.
The Prime Minister is to set out a tougher approach on housing and benefits, promising to tackle the culture of "something for nothing", in a keynote speech on immigration on Monday.
Councils currently have powers to impose local residency tests for social housing but ministers are frustrated that only around half do so.
Arguing that Britain became a "soft touch" for immigrants under Labour, Mr Cameron will announce that statutory guidance is being issued. Local authorities will have to introduce minimum residency times of between two and five years for joining waiting lists - or justify why they are not.
The harder line will please the Tory Right, who have blamed the lack of action in such core areas for the party's dismal third place behind Ukip in the Eastleigh by-election.
Concerns have been rising of an influx from Bulgaria and Romania when movement restrictions are loosened at the end of this year but research for the Communities and Local Government department has suggested only about 13,000 will arrive from the two countries.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, however, said this week that he had "no confidence" in the figures and Migration Watch UK, which wants tougher controls on immigration, has estimated that 250,000 will move to the UK over five years.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg performed a U-turn last week by abandoning the Liberal Democrats' controversial "earned citizenship" policy, which would allow illegal immigrants to stay once they have been in the country for more than 10 years. He said such an amnesty now risked "undermining public confidence".
Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant told Sky News that some of the Government's proposals on housing allocation were "quite interesting" but he wanted to see the details. He added he was "slightly bewildered" about what new power Mr Cameron thought he was introducing.
He said: "Since the Prime Minister came to power, the number of illegal immigrants stopped at our borders has fallen, the number of people absconding from Heathrow has grown and the number of foreign criminals deported has fallen."