UK immigration policy questioned

26 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Labour government's decisions regarding UK immigration have been called into question by the publication of a number of reports.

Focusing on Eastern European immigration to the UK, the papers, which were compiled by the previous government, are expected to be published this week with some damage to the opposition party.

Anticipating their release, Ed Miliband, the now Labour leader, stated at the annual party conference that they had clearly “got it wrong” in relation to the numbers of people moving to Britain from within Europe. He added: “We've clearly got to learn those lessons for the future when it comes to future accession … if you have a more open economy in Europe, you've got to put in the right protection for people, for workers.”

The publications come in the midst of a shake up of UK visa and work permit regulations by the coalition government. While Labour's 'open door' policy effectively closed in 2008 with the introduction of a new 'points based' plan, it appears that the government failed to deliver on its promise to manage migration from within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Indeed, the reports, seen ahead of publication by the Telegraph, showed that 15 per cent of people coming to the UK from Bulgaria and Romania in 2009 were claiming out-of-work benefits and a further 27 per cent had 'low education levels'.

Immigrants from these two countries were also shown to be the most likely to have four children or more, and, despite the implementation of a 'cap' on numbers, the migration rate from Romania and Bulgaria increased significantly after the countries joined the European Union in 2007.

The current government's immigration policy has been receiving criticism for coming down too heavily on immigration of skilled workers while still failing to tackle the high numbers of immigrants coming to the UK from within the EEA.