Labour Tackling Immigration

(March 07, 2013)

Labour have today set out our views on immigration in Britain:

We will not enter into an arms race of rhetoric on immigration.

Britain has benefited over many centuries from the amazing contributions of immigrants welcomed to our shores. New ideas, new talents and hard work from abroad have helped build our biggest companies, sustain our NHS and win us Nobel prizes.

But it is because immigration is so important that it needs to be controlled and its impact properly managed.

We need a mature recognition that there are different kinds of immigration – immigration that works for Britain and immigration that doesn’t.

Labour got things wrong in the past and we are setting out a new approach.

Stronger action on unequal impact, including new policies to prevent exploitation that undercuts local workers, improve housing standards and increase enforcement of the National Minimum Wage.

Tackling abuse, such as illegal immigration, that is bad for both migrants and the whole country.

Supporting more university students to come to our country, creating local jobs and boosting the economy – while increasing the checks on non-university short term visas that are open to abuse.

And setting out short-term and medium-term measures to deal with the impact of European migration and ensure its effects are fair for the whole country.

We need an approach the works for the whole country.

There is no future in a Britain that shuts itself off from the world.


  • The Government’s overall approach to targets is too simplistic – and changes are needed.
  • David Cameron promised to reduce “net migration” to the tens of thousands by the election, and that has become the top priority of the Home Office now.
  • Yet the drop in net migration so far is not what it seems.
  • Astonishingly, two thirds of the drop in net migration is actually British citizens.
  • And it seems a large proportion of the rest is students.

Everything that is included in the “net migration” measure is treated as the same while the Government tries to bring it down. Everything excluded from the “net migration” measure is being ignored – even if it causes serious problems.

For example, legitimate university students are included in the target even though they bring billions into Britain – and those are being squeezed.

Yet student visitor visas aren’t included – and growing abuse in that category is being ignored.

Highly skilled global experts and investors are included – so the Home Office has no interest in sorting the visa delays that prevent them from coming.

Yet illegal immigration isn’t included – and all the evidence shows the Home Office is not taking it seriously and the problem is getting worse.

There needs to be a mature recognition that there are different kinds of immigration – immigration that works and immigration that doesn’t, both for the immigrant and the country.

Key facts

-          Net migration has gone down by 72,000 since the election

-          Yet that includes a 27,000 increase in Brits leaving the country

-          And a 20,000 drop in the number of Brits coming back home

-          Meanwhile, student immigration dropped by 38,000

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