Migrants will get work visas if no Brits can do the job under Labour immigration plans

Posted On: 
12th September 2018

Migrants hoping to work in the UK under a Labour government will only get visas if no British workers are able to do the job, Diane Abbott will announce today.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott
PA Images

Unveiling her party's new immigration policy, the Shadow Home Secretary will say "anyone with specified bona fide skills can come here to work".

The new system would "avoid the idiocy of preventing doctors and nurses from coming here to take up job offers", she will add.

Minsters announce post-Brexit immigration scheme for farm workers

Ministers 'shockingly' indecisive over post-Brexit migration plans

Immigration Minister refuses to confirm EU citizens will get 'settled status' after no deal Brexit

The long-awaited detail of the Labour immigration proposals comes as the Government continues to decide what its own system will look like.

Under the Labour plans, short-term visas for tourists, students, seasonal agricultural workers and quick business trips will be issued when required.

But those who want to stay longer will have to have a specific job offer in a sector in need of extra staff.

“We have economic needs that dictate we need migrants, to help tackle skills shortages and labour shortages,” Ms Abbott will say.

“We will avoid the idiocy of preventing doctors and nurses from coming here to take up job offers. Under our new work visa system, anyone with specified bona fide skills can come here to work…

“People coming to take up specific job offers, where it can be shown that those jobs cannot be filled by workers already resident here, will be able to come here."

In June it emerged more than 2,300 visa applications by doctors hoping to work in the UK had been rejected - despite the need for staff in the NHS.

The Labour system will apply to “a range of jobs, skills and professions,” and will include options to offer residency rights and accelerated citizenship, Ms Abbott will say.

Jobs will always advertised first in the UK and will never be adverstised overseas only, under the proposals.

Employment needs will be based on intelligence from the Migration Advisory Council, trades unions, employers, devolved Governments and local and regional elected bodies.

The most experienced staff will be prioritised, and the system will also apply to employment hopefuls currently deemed ‘unskilled’ - such as those working in catering.

However, the rules could be softened for specific countries or blocs such as the EU, depending on any free trade deals the UK might strike.

Elsewhere, Ms Abbott will say a Labour government will look to slash immigration application fees, and would deport overseas criminals swiftly without the need for detention centres.

And she will slam the “foolish and reckless” plan by the Government to reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year.