Former Labour Minister Frank Field said that current levels of immigration were “unsustainable”.
In a BBC interview this week the MP for Birkenhead accused the government of failing to address the issue after borders were opened to nationals from new EU member states in 2004. Britain was one of three countries not to restrict employment to people from Poland and the other new members.
“When we signed up to the new members, France and Germany were very careful to ensure that while the door was open, it wasn’t just flung open,” he said.
“In this country, the government said that they thought there would be 13,000 workers from the new EU members coming in the first year … Within the first 18 months it was 329,000. Britain was one of three countries not to restrict employment to people from Poland and the other new members. Some 580,000 people came to Britain in 2004, but 360,000 left.”
The “Eastern European” factor has already had an adverse affect on many Filipino and Indian migrants, especially in the health care sector.
Employers find it more convenient to recruit staff from Eastern Europe as they do not have to apply for work permits.
Last year the government axed the popular Sectors Based Scheme (SBS) leaving thousands of Filipino and Bangladeshi catering workers disappointed.
Potential non EU migrants will need to “raise their game” in terms of qualifications and skills when the new Points Based System has been fully implemented.