Labour proposes stronger criminal checks on migrants

16 Dec 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Should Labour win the next election, those applying for UK visas and citizenships in the country are likely to find themselves subject to tougher scrutiny when it comes to their criminal record.

Speaking to the BBC, the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Home Office of failing to do "basic checks" on immigrants' backgrounds and criminal records.

"I think it's shocking that we have had people including serious criminals and killers [being] given British passports and British citizenship because the Home office failed to do basic checks," she remarked on the Andrew Marr Show.

"I think we need much stronger checks in place, that must include a requirement on people applying for British citizenship to provide the equivalent of the Criminal Records Bureau check from their own country."

Her comments were met with a response from Conservative backbencher Peter Bone who told the news source that the restrictions Ms Cooper is discussing could only be applied to people coming from outside of the EU "where you can stop them and send them home and have controls".

He added: "If someone is coming from the European Union, and we're talking about hundreds of thousands each year, there are no controls."

Immigration looks set to be a major issue in next year's general election. The current government has failed to meet targets it set itself in net migration, while the general opinion is swaying between recognising the vital contribution of skilled immigrant workers on UK work permits and concern over the lack of control exacted on the country's borders.