What does a Left-wing migration policy look like?

A new report by the TUC has answers that help migrants and workers


Nearly three quarters of people who voted to leave the EU said migration was one of their top three concerns, in a TUC poll taken days after the referendum.

85 per cent said that it’s essential to reduce the number of migrants coming to Britain. 44 per cent of Remain voters also wanted immigration reduced.

However, two thirds of voters agreed with the statement that ‘as long as the system is well managed, immigration can be good for Britain’, including a majority of Leave voters.

A TUC report published today, Managing migration better for Britain, looks at what the government could do now – before we leave the EU – to manage migration better and win more public support.

Some of these measures are policies the TUC has called for repeatedly. We hope politicians are now listening.

The idea of restoring the Migration Impact Fund is now widely shared. But our concern is that the fund should be considerably larger than it was under Gordon Brown, and should give local people a say over the funding of local services, like schools, hospitals and GP surgeries. It should also pay for the extra housing needs of a growing population.

We want to make sure that the economic benefits of migration that politicians and economists talk about actually filter through to the people who need better services and more homes.

We also want to press the case for an economy that prevents both exploitation of migrants and undercutting of the existing workforce.

Bad bosses will use any opportunity to divide working people if they can make a fast buck out of it. That’s what’s behind the lower rate for young people of the so-called National Living Wage, and it’s what they tried when women entered the labour force in greater numbers.

The appropriate response is to ensure equal pay for people doing the same job in the same place, closing the loopholes that allow exploitation and undercutting, and toughening up the enforcement of such rules.

Restoring collective bargaining where unions can recruit, and introducing modern wages councils where that doesn’t happen also have a part to play.

The TUC is also advocating a bigger Border Force, with a remit to prevent trafficking and exploitation, to take the strain of enforcing migration laws off employers, landlords, education and health professionals.

As the Byron Burgers experience shows, turning private people into part of the Border Force leads to all sorts of abuses, as well as giving people roles they are uncomfortable with and unprepared for.

There are a lot of proposals in the paper which would help manage migration better, for migrants as well as the local population.

One that is more urgent than most is to guarantee that people from other EU countries who have been living and working in the UK should be allowed to stay. Immediately after the referendum, our polling showed that 64 per cent of voters wanted to recognise their commitment to the UK, and only 28 per cent of Leave voters disagreed.

Making the migration system work better would not only improve people’s working lives and communities, it would rebuild trust. Three quarters of Leave voters felt that the Remain campaign dismissed legitimate concerns about immigration, but so too did nearly a third of Remain voters.

Engaging with the TUC’s proposals for managing migration would be an important way for politicians to demonstrate that they get it, and are taking people’s views seriously.

That’s more urgent than deciding what our relationship with the EU should be after Brexit: we’ve got to start bringing people together.

Owen Tudor is head of European Union and International Relations for the TUC

See: Minimum wage denied to workers who support the elderly and vulnerable

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8 Responses to “What does a Left-wing migration policy look like?”

  1. I R Stevenson

    I think we need to look at the full picture. We can’t just look at the tax paid by migrants. Their work earns profits for their employers (as in all employment, workers take less than the value of what they produce ) which is taxed. Also they spend most of their income here creating income for shops. landlords etc.
    Some industries would not exist without them. Here in somerset I see gangs of people picking e.g. peas, when I walk the dog. The languages I hear are not English.

  2. Steve Smith

    Below was taken from the TUC Report – Managing migration for a better Britain. What the goverment should be doing now.

    this report was apparently sent to all political parties. Note there is no mention of British citizens who many have worked abroad not just in Europe but also
    in Non European Countries. They are the forgotten ones.

    Take Steve Smith’s case for example:

    Steve, a British born citizen worked in Indonesia for over 10 years in both Advertising and teaching English. He married an Indonesian and has two children both born in Indonesia.

    When he became seriously ill earlier this year he returned to the UK for treatment. The reason being Indonesia is a developing country and he prefered the NHS back in his native country.
    To his surprise he was denied NHS treatment until he could prove that he intended to remain as a resident. And only then could he receive treatment on the NHS.

    Please bear in mind Steve Smith was born in Southampton in 1950. Southampton will not be considered his home town until 3 years have passed.
    Because he had left the UK to work abroad. Steve is not entitled to any benefits for 3 years even though he is disabled and unable to work due to Peripheral Arterial Disease.

    He cannot register for Social Housing for 3 years after his return to the UK. It is interesting to note that Politicians and Trade Unionists are it seems unaware of many families in Steve’s position.
    When Steve tried to get his wife and kids to join him in the UK, he had another shock.

    There is an income minimum for a British husband and wife and two kids. It’s £24,800 per annum. Steve gets a pension of £164 a week, he cannot work due to disabilities. What does the TUC recommend to government?
    ‘In addition, the Government needs to make clear that refugees and migrants from
    communities long established in the UK are welcome, to recognise their contribution to
    the economy and society, and to ensure they are able to integrate easily and fully into
    local communities’.

    Absolutely no mention of British citizens who are born in this country but are treated extremely unfairly when it comes to bringing their family back to their own country.
    One that they had already contributed to over several generations including two World Wars. The title of part 5 should read Protect the rights of EU citizens in Britain AND Non EU citizens with British partners in Britain. This immigration law as it stands is Ageist and Racist. If Steve’s wife was from the EEA she would only need to pay £65. That is extremely unfair and divisive.

    Below is part 5 of the document – MANAGING MIGRATION FOR A BETTER BRITAIN:

    5. Protect the rights of EU citizens in Britain and tackling racism and xenophobia

    Understandably, the vote for the UK to leave the EU has caused considerable worry
    amongst EU member state nationals who live and work in the UK. The then- Foreign
    Secretary Philip Hammond MP recently suggested the status of EU citizens in the UK depends on a
    deal being struck with other EU countries on the status of UK citizens.
    This approach is opposed by many across business, the unions and civil society, who
    believe that the status of EU migrants after Brexit is a matter that is within the
    competence of the
    UK government to determine unilaterally.
    The week after the referendum, the TUC and CBI issued a joint statement stating that as
    a matter of urgency, government needs to act to allay the concerns of EU nationals
    living and working in the UK, and UK citizens living and working in the EU. This
    statement was backed in a letter to the Sunday Telegraph signed by the TUC, the
    Institute of Directors and Conservative and Labour politicians from both sides of the
    referendum debate, alongside a long list of academics commentators and experts. A
    number of individual employers have also moved quickly to assert that their employees
    should have the right to remain in the country and continue to be a valued part of the
    In addition, the Government needs to make clear that refugees and migrants from
    communities long established in the UK are welcome, to recognise their contribution to
    the economy and society, and to ensure they are able to integrate easily and fully into
    local communities. Measures to achieve that are set out in a separate report from the
    TUC, but will, crucially, include measures to engage local communities in building
    social cohesion.
    The government should:

    Make clear that EU citizens still have full rights to work in the UK and equal rights
    with UK citizens.

    State that any discrimination against EU citizens is unlawful and will be prosecuted.

    Take steps with employers and unions to tackle racism at work, and with local
    communities to tackle racism in society generally.

    Managing migration better for Britain means providing practical solutions to the
    problems that people see in their communities. The government must crack down on
    exploitation, invest in local areas that are feeling increased pressures from population
    change and provide the chance for everyone to learn English.
    And more importantly, it is time to make sure that all communities across the UK- whether
    they voted to leave or to remain- feel that they have a share in rebuilding UK economic prosperity after Brexit.
    Working together, and emphasising the importance of
    workplaces and local communities as places to build opportunity for all working people,
    we can start to mend the fractures the EU referendum has exposed. These divisions only
    benefit bad bosses, rogue landlords
    and extremist politicians. As Jo Cox MP said in her maiden speech in the House of Commons
    in 2015, we have more in common than that which divides us.

  3. Amber Rudd's migrant impact fund is 'too small to make a difference' – TUC | Left Foot Forward

    […] Following the vote to leave the EU, and recognising working peoples’ concerns about immigration, the TUC has been working to develop a left-wing migration strategy. […]

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