The leader of the United Kingdom's Labour Party Ed Miliband has given an interview to the BBC's lunchtime news programme The World at One. In an interview on Thursday 4th October 2012, the opposition leader told BBC journalist Martha Kearney that he thought that immigration into the UK, particularly low-skilled immigration was 'too high'.
Mr Miliband was a member of the last Labour government which
was voted out in 2010. He has previously admitted that that government did not
do enough to address public concerns on immigration. Census records suggest that
there was net inward immigration of 3.2 million people during the 13 years of
the last Labour administration. Some of that immigration comprises people who
came from Central and Eastern European countries that joined the European Union
in 2004; Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia,
Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Because there is a single labour market in
Europe, a citizen of an EU country can in general work easily in another EU
Country. However, EU countries were entitled to place temporary restrictions on
immigration from the new member states that joined in 2004. Most existing
European member states put suchBulgaria controls in place. In particular, France
and Germany did so. However, the Labour government of the UK did not do so. It
said that such controls were not necessary and said that it had estimated that
only 13,000 Eastern Europeans would come to Britain each year. Over 250,000 came
in 2010 alone. Official estimates suggest that there are now approximately
775,000 eastern Europeans resident in the UK. The Labour government was
criticised for this failure to limit their numbers in 2004. When Bulgaria and
Romania joined the EU in 2007, the UK put restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian
citizens working in the UK.
Mr Miliband said that he was concerned about
immigration but said that the coalition's policy of attempting to put a cap on
immigrant numbers would not work. He said that most immigration came from within
the European Union and that the government had no control over that because of
the free movement of labour throughout the EU.
Mr Miliband said that it
was important to ensure that, when people came to the country, they came in a
way that delivered economic benefits for all rather than in a way that saw
immigrants undercutting people in the UK by working for less.
that he was now 'less sanguine' that he had been when he was in government
'about the effects when people come in. If there is an open Europe, we must have
the highest standards at work.' Mr Miliband said that jt would be necessary to
police firms to ensure that unscrupulous employers did not pay low-skilled
immigrants less than the minimum wage and to ensure that gangmasters did not
exploit immigrants on building sites.
Ms Kearney pressed Mr Miliband to
say whether he thought immigration was 'at a good level'. Mr Miliband said 'in
terms of low-skilled migration, it is too high and I want to do something about
On 3rd October 2012, Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, told
the Labour Party Conference that the government should take 'much stronger
action' on illegal immigration.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of
programs in United Kingdom.
Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html