Labour and Conservatives Converge on Immigration


Today, the Labour Party announced its 10-point plan for immigration, which includes tough new measures on people entering and leaving the country, and rules on the provision of benefits and to prevent the undercutting of British wages. We had a look at how these compare to the Conservatives’ own plans for immigration, as set out in their Election Manifesto – in doing so, we found a high level of convergence in the parties’ policy platforms:

1. Labour Plan: Recruiting an additional 1,000 borders staff, paid for by a small charge on non-visa visitors to the UK.

Conservative Manifesto: “We will continue to strengthen our borders, improve the enforcement of our immigration laws and act to make sure people leave at the end of their visas.” (p.77)

2. Labour Plan: Stopping those who have committed serious crimes coming to Britain and deport those who commit them after they arrive.

Conservative Manifesto: “We will negotiate with the EU to introduce stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back” (p.30)
A British Bill of Rights, which will: “stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human rights arguments to prevent deportation” (p.42)

3. Labour Plan: Introducing full exit checks, so that we can count people in and out of the country.

Conservative Manifesto: “We have already re-introduced a proper system of exit checks across the country” (p.41)

4. Labour Plan: Ending the indefinite detention of people in the asylum and immigration system and uphold our traditions and obligations on refugees.

Conservative Manifesto: No policy.

5. Labour Plan: Keeping the cap on workers from outside the EU and tightening the rules by requiring large firms hiring workers from outside to offer apprenticeships here.

Conservative Manifesto: “We have already capped the level of skilled economic migration from outside the EU. We will maintain our cap at 20,700 during the next Parliament. This will ensure that we only grant visas to those who have the skills we really need in our economy.” (p.32)

6. Labour Plan: Making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers – and enforcing this law with a special 100-strong Home Office unit with investigatory powers.

Conservative Manifesto: “We have already re-introduced a proper system of exit checks across the country, passed a Modern Slavery Act that will protect people from exploitation, and quadrupled the fines for unscrupulous employers who undercut the Minimum Wage. Now we will introduce tougher labour market regulation to tackle illegal working and exploitation. To crack down further on illegal working, we will harness data from multiple agencies, including Exit Checks data, to identify illegal immigrants and businesses that employ illegal workers. And to incentivise tougher action on employers who do not pay the minimum wage, we will allow inspection teams to reinvest more of the money raised by fines levied on employers.” (p.33)

7. Labour Plan: Banning recruitment agencies from hiring only from overseas.

Conservative Manifesto: No policy, but the Department for Business Innovation and Skills launched a consultation on this subject last year.

8. Labour Plan: Closing the loophole whereby employers are able to use agency staff as a way to undercut the wages of permanent staff.

Conservative Manifesto: No policy.

9. Labour Plan: Preventing people who come here from claiming benefits for at least two years or sending child benefit to families living abroad.

Conservative Manifesto: “We will insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years… If an EU migrant’s child is living abroad, then they should receive no child benefit or child tax credit, no matter how long they have worked in the UK and no matter how much tax they have paid.” (p.32)

10. Labour Plan: Requiring people working in public services in public facing roles to speak English.

Conservative Manifesto: “We will legislate to ensure that every public sector worker operating in a customer-facing role must speak fluent English.” (p.31)