As immigration is emerging as key issue, political parties make clear their stand
20th April 2010: With the general elections just round the corner, the stands on immigration by all major political parties are becoming clearer by the day.
An analysis of the election manifestos of the three main political parties reveals its going to get tougher for the prospective immigrants to get into the UK, if they are not economically advantageous to the country.
While the Labour has pledged it would tighten the criteria of its Australian-style points based immigration system to “ensure the economy gets the migrants it needs, but no more”, Tories vow to cut immigration.
Nick Clegg is in favour of regional points-based system; is against sending the migrants back and wants their flow to be directed to parts of the country that could support an increase in population.
Priority to local people: Labour
It now emerges that Labour wants public procurement in future to give priority to local people, in an apparent bid to deal with immigration.
This was made clear in the party’s 2010 general election manifesto "A Future Fair for All" unveiled on 12 April by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The manifesto says there will be no unskilled migration from outside the EU. Skilled jobs are now advertised here first for four weeks with more vacancies going to local workers, and public procurement will in future give priority to local people.
The manifesto says English tests will be made compulsory for all public sector migrant workers, including nurses, community support officers, social workers and call centre staff.
Currently, the requirement is only for doctors from outside Europe, police officials and teachers. “We know that migrants who are fluent in English are more likely to work and find it easier to integrate. So as well as making our English test harder, we will ensure it is taken by all applicants before they arrive,” the manifesto reads.
It reiterates reliance on the points system
for immigration, instead of the old practice of automatically granting citizenship after a set period in Britain. It also assures that access to benefits and housing will increasingly be reserved for British citizens and permanent residents.
Brown says they understand people’s concerns about immigration, about whether it will undermine their wages or job prospects or put pressure on public services and housing. As such, they will act. Brown also claims more EU and other foreign prisoners will be transferred abroad.
`We will slash immigration’: Tories
David Cameron says the Tories will drastically slash annual immigration into Britain, if the part emerges victorious in the general election. As of now, the party says the immigration is ‘too high’. It will be cut down to levels last witnessed in the mid-90s.
The 130-page Tory manifesto made public on 13 April in London makes it clear the party proposes to put to an end Labour’s open-door policy.
A Conservative government will stop uncontrolled immigration, with an annual limit on non-EU economic migration. Cameron also pledges that net annual immigration will be brought down from 200,000 a year under Labour to “tens of thousands”. This will be done by putting transitional limits on the entry of European Union citizens, and reducing the number of skilled migrants from the rest of the world.
In the manifesto, the party agrees immigration has enriched the nation and the Tories still want to attract the brightest and the best people who can make a real difference to our economic growth.
But it adds immigration needs to be reduced, as they do not need to bring in people to do jobs that could be carried out by British citizens given right training and support.
`Good immigration is welcome’: Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg believes there is good immigration and bad immigration.
Clegg says public services would collapse overnight, if they were to pull up the drawbridge and ask everybody go back home.
He says parts of the UK are very, very overcrowded. As such, the flow of migrants should be directed to parts of the country that could support an increase in population.
Elaborating, he says there are parts of Britain which are very, very overcrowded, particularly in the South East and there are other parts of Britain which are not.
Clegg insists it is not going to help anyone in the North East and their jobs if we are to pull out of what is the largest borderless market of 475 million people they can sell their goods to.
In the party’s election manifesto ‘Four steps to a fairer UK’, Clegg has already made it clear that those living in the UK without the correct documentation will be allowed to become British citizens after 10 years if they speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term.
Clegg is in favour of tightening Britain’s borders by reintroducing exit checks at all ports and airports, set up a National Border Force with police powers and introduce regional points-based system.