One of the things Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband hasn’t had enough credit for is how he has changed Labour when it comes to immigration.
The Labour Party has admitted that we got things wrong in the past, including not introducing transitional controls for Eastern European countries and not fully recognising the impact immigration can have on local communities.
This is why, under Ed’s leadership, Labour’s stance on immigration has changed significantly. It is not prejudiced to worry about immigration and we understand the legitimate concerns people have.
I am proud that we live in a diverse country that faces out to the rest of the world. Immigration has made a positive contribution to our economy and communities over the generations, but it must be managed and properly controlled.
The Government’s approach is simply not working. David Cameron promised to get net migration down to the tens of thousands, but it is rising, not falling. Fewer people are being stopped at the border, which means we are now seeing an increase in illegal immigration. And fewer foreign criminals are being deported.
Under Labour’s proposals, immigration will be controlled better, with people counted in and out of the border. We will also crackdown on illegal immigration by reintroducing finger print checks at borders like Dover (left) and closing down loopholes that allow for the exploitation of short-term student visitor visas.
But as well as implementing practical policies to control immigration, we will also address the real impact it can have on jobs, wages and local communities. One of biggest problems with immigration is that migrant labour is exploited to undercut pay and conditions of our own local workers.
That is why Labour will ban recruitment agencies from hiring solely from overseas and put in place tougher enforcement of minimum wage laws. We will also ensure that every firm hiring a migrant worker from outside the EU is required to offer an apprenticeship in return. This will help give young people the opportunities and training they so desperately need.
UKIP likes to talk tough on immigration, but they would just make things even worse with their policy to axe employment rights, such as maternity pay, holiday pay and sick pay.
And turning our back on Europe and the rest of the world certainly won’t work. We need a system that is fair for everyone and that is seen to be fair. That’s why we will also change the rules so new EU migrants will not be eligible to claim benefits for the first six months they are here and anyone who commits a crime soon after arrival will be deported.