Last week, Labour pledged to pay 1,000 extra border guards by imposing a charge on visitors from the US and 55 other countries. Labour will charge visitors entering the UK around £10 as part of their wider pledge to get immigration under control.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, outlined surcharge plans in her speech, declaring the funds would be used to create around 1,000 more border and enforcement staff to help cope with the traffic coming through customs. In her speech, Cooper also added that the opposition party, “needs to talk more” about public concerns and to restore public confidence, that illegal entrants are being caught and dealt with, which is vital for a progressive approach.
Labour would also introduce exit checks, so the number of immigrants leaving the country can be counted, and bring back finger-printing for illegal migrants. Proposals for stronger controls are also to be introduced for temporary student visas, and greater “transitional controls” for when new countries join the EU.
Laying into the Conservative government for having “wasted four years and £225m of tax payer’s money and failing to sort a contract for more border controls”, Cooper noted that the influx of immigrants via Calais had led to “not just abuse, but tragedy”. She added: “It is frankly immoral to include refugees in a net migration target that the Government is trying to get down”.
As Labour’s target is to set out practical reforms as part of a sensible debate on the changes Britain needs, the current UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, claimed “this disastrous policy launch shows Labour are not remotely ready for the responsibility of government”. This was stated against Yvette Coopers’ speech given on 18th November 2014.
A Home Office source also stated, “Labour have completely misunderstood the whole immigration system” because if Labour plan extend the visa waiver system for all visitors from all countries even those who do not at present require a visa then they would be creating a system that would cost more to operate than recover in fees of £10 for per visitor.
The debate continues under these proposals, however, currently David Cameron is trying to control the number of immigrants from the European Union whilst dealing with opposition from European leaders. The Prime Minster has come under heavy criticism from his own backbench in recent months, especially with the rise of anti-EU/anti-immigration policies from UKIP. The PM failed to deliver his election promise from 2010 to cut net immigration to the “tens-of-thousands” rather than “hundreds-of-thousands”. Immigration, a major concern amongst the British electorate, is an area that all parties will be looking to successfully address before the 2015 General Election, the Conservative Party most of all.
These plans proposed by the Labour party sound somewhat promising and could eventually come into practice if money/funds are calculated accordingly. Adding this policy to the visa waiver system may also create a smooth and better running of the immigration system, in order to know who leaves and enters the country.
By Zakia Sheba,
Junior Writer, Daily Political View.
Twitter – @ZakiaSheba