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Labour admit EU immigration mistakes | Immigration Matters

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The former Labour Government’s  so called ‘open-door’ immigration policy drove down wages and living standards in Britain, party leader Ed Miliband has admitted, the Daily Mail reports this week.

He conceded for the first time that the last government ‘got it wrong’ on border controls and said  that British workers had  been ‘undercut’.

The bombshell confession came amid revelations that, when in power, Labour suppressed a string of damaging reports about the impact of mass immigration on the UK.

At the time Labour denied claims that migration – in particular the large number of skilled Poles – was making life harder for some British workers.

Mr Miliband conceded: ‘We got it wrong in a number of respects including underestimating the level of immigration from Poland, which had a big effect on people in Britain.

‘What I think people were worried about, in relation to Polish immigration in particular, was that they were seeing their wages, their living standards driven down. 

‘Part of the job of government is if you are going to have an open economy within Europe you have got to give that protection to employees so that they don’t see workers coming in and undercutting them.’

However, Labour is still refusing to match the Tory commitment to reduce net migration – the difference between the number leaving the UK and the number of arrivals – to the ‘tens of thousands’.

Mr Miliband told Sky News: ‘I’m not going to make  promises that I can’t keep. We need a tough immigration policy but I  think free movement of labour is right for Britain.’

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper admitted: ‘We did get things wrong on immigration.

‘We should have had transitional controls on migration from Eastern Europe.’

In a separate development, the Coalition published a string of reports, which cost £165,000 to produce, which ministers claimed had been suppressed by Labour.

The documents, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, revealed that immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria had low education levels and were more likely to claim unemployment-related benefits than non-immigrants or other migrant groups in Britain.

Migrants from the Bulgaria and Romania were, the report also said, more likely to have four or more children than those coming to Britain from elsewhere, placing a significant strain on the education system.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: ‘This is another disturbing cover-up by a Labour Party that failed on immigration and then tried to bury the truth.

‘This Government is bringing immigration under control to restore public confidence in the system left broken by Labour.’ Source: Daily Mail.

Although full European Union members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries.

Free movement of labour for workers means that an EU national has the right to work, and at the same time live, in any other EU country, according to the European Commission. Bulgarians and Romanians do not enjoy full movement rights at the moment.

Employers can get around immigration and employment laws by employing workers via agencies. Reputable agencies make proper immigration checks on their workers, but not all are so vigilant.

Joanna, an administrator for NVQ vocational and management training institution, Majestic College, has met a large number of Bulgarian and Romanian workers working on a ’self employed’ basis (some without Yellow Cards) via agencies on ‘unfavourable’ terms and conditions. She said:

‘Some workers are exploited by agencies or employers who use the fact that they are illegal to control them and deny them basic employment rights.

‘Once they start a course with us we help them legalise their stay and apply for a Yellow Card.

”We also help find them a proper job – employed and paying tax via the employer, not as self employed, and once they have this security they are much happier’

After 12 months of continuous work a Bulgarian or Romanian student worker can apply for a permanent residence ‘blue card’.

Last week the European Union gave denied its two newest members the right to join the Schengen bloc’s passport-free travel zone.

See also:

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

BR1 Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revised

Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards

Meeting of the Migration Advisory Committee with representatives of Romanian professional associations in the UK

Bulgaria and Romania Schengen visa bid blocked by Netherlands and Finland

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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  1. […] admission by party leader Ed Miliband that the Labour Government’s  ‘open-door’ immigration policy drove down wages and living standards in Britain, Jonathan Portes, Director of the National […]

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