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Key immigration takeaways from the Labour manifesto

Posted on 13 June 2024

Labour have today published their manifesto ahead of the upcoming election on 4 July. In terms of immigration, as expected, their pledges focus on reducing net migration to the UK.

Reform the points-based immigration system

There are no concrete proposals on what this reform will look like, and Labour have not committed to any net migration targets. The key message is to work to reduce the dependence of some parts of the economy on overseas workers to fill skills shortages. 

Skills improvement plan

The manifesto pledges to bring in training plans for certain sectors, such as health and social care and construction. However, the policy has raised some questions, and its details are yet to be confirmed. For example, will UK businesses be required to implement new training plans before being able to sponsor migrant workers from overseas? This could have a huge impact on businesses, particularly small businesses, and on any business with urgent vacancies to be filled. We know that many businesses in the UK continue to face skills shortages in the aftermath of Brexit and COVID-19 and it remains to be seen what the short- and long-term impact of any such reforms would be. It also remains to be seen if there are people in the UK who are ready and willing to do the jobs in question.

Restore order to the asylum system so it operates swiftly, firmly and fairly

Labour have pledged to recruit of an additional 1,000 staff to fast-track removals to safe countries and negotiate additional returns arrangements to speed up returns. Labour has also committed to working with partners to address humanitarian crises which lead people to flee their homes and offer support for refugees in their home region. For many, such crises fundamentally mean that individuals fear for their safety in their home country and the offer of additional support to remain in their home is difficult to imagine. It is unclear whether this plan would be a consideration of relocation of individuals to neighbouring countries.

Rwanda policy

There would be no continuation of the Rwanda policy Instead, the focus would be on identifying the individuals people smuggling and prosecuting them.

European Convention of Human Rights

Labour will unequivocally remain a member of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Interestingly, the manifesto mentions nothing on reviewing the family income threshold that was controversially raised from £18,600 to £29,000 earlier this year. Labour had previously discussed concerns about this increase.

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