Britain has benefited over many centuries from immigration. But it is because immigration is so important that it needs to be controlled and its
impact properly managed.
The Tories have let people down on immigration. David Cameron promised to get net migration down to the tens of thousands, but rather
than falling it has actually increased. Illegal immigration is also a growing problem. Fewer people are being stopped at the border, more people
are absconding and fewer foreign criminals are being deported; yet the government still has no way of properly tracking who is coming into the
country and who is leaving.
Talking about immigration is not about pandering to the right. It is about establishing a set of rules that are fair to those that come, and above all,
to those that are already here. Labour’s new approach is about controlling immigration and its impacts on local communities.
A sense of fairness and community means ending the race to the bottom on pay and conditions, that entitlements should be earned, and that people should learn English and be part of our society.
There are three principles that will underpin our approach. First, we need strong borders in order to control the pace of change – so we will
re-introduce exit checks and move towards counting people in and out.
Second, we will reform our economy so that it is less reliant on low skilled migrant labour – with a crack down on exploitation and undercutting of
workers’ wages, with tougher enforcement of minimum wage laws. And third, we will introduce measures to ensure migrants integrate and play
their part in our society, for example requiring all public sector workers in public-facing roles to speak English, and introduce longer waiting periods for out-of-work benefit; reform in-work benefits so that they aren’t available until someone has contributed, and stop Child Benefit being sent abroad.
• Control immigration, with 1,000 new border staff and people counted in and out.
• Tackle illegal immigration, reinstating fingerprint checks at Calais and closing down student visitor visa loopholes.
• Ban recruitment agencies that only hire from overseas.
• Ensure that EU migrants have to earn their entitlement to benefits.
• Require public sector workers in public facing roles to speak English.
• Net migration is up to 260,000 a year – despite David Cameron’s promise to “reduce net migration to tens of thousands”.
• The Government is failing to enforce fair rules in our labour market, which means cheap migrant labour is being used to undercut workers’ wages.