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Immigration Policies of Top UK Political Parties for the 2024 General Election

With the next general election due to take place on 4 July 2024, let's look at what the major political parties are saying about immigration. A lot has changed since the last time in 2019, so what's being promised this time around?


Graphic of the leading UK political party logos

Labour


"People who have come to the UK to work make a substantial contribution to our economy, our public services, and our communities".

  • The Labour party has pledged to reduced net migration following record highs under the Conservative government. It claims the UK has an over dependence on migrant workers to fill skills shortages, leading to a need to manage levels and encourage businesses to train people locally for these positions.

  • It also proposes to reform the current points-based immigration system for a fairer and properly managed one, with a crackdown on employers and recruitment agencies who abuse the visa system or otherwise disregard employment rules.

  • Labour also plans to establish a framework for joint working with skills bodies across the UK, the Industrial Strategy Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.


Bottom line

Reduction of migrant workers. More focus on training and strengthening of domestic workforce.


Conservatives


"We need to control numbers and give the public confidence they will come down significantly".

  • The Conservative party manifesto focuses its migration section heavily on illegal entrants. It pledges to establish a deterrent by running a "relentless, continual process of permanently removing illegal migrants to Rwanda".

  • It will seek to prevent illegal migrants from making legal challenges against their removal by way of the Illegal Migration Act and further agreements with 3rd countries for straightforward returns.

  • Restriction of visa access from countries which do not share the UK's national priorities, including illegal migration.

  • A cap on genuine refugees fleeing persecution based on the capacity of local areas.

  • A cap on work and family visas to protect increased demand on housing and public services including transport and the NHS.


Bottom line

Increased efforts to stop illegal migrants. Prevention of inauthentic appeals by illegal migrants. Maintaining limits placed on migrant workers and family visas to lessen impact on public services.


Liberal Democrats


"Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect".

  • The Lib Dem manifesto proposes the most changes to the current immigration system.

  • These changes include allowing the right to work for asylum seekers who have been waiting for a decision for over 3 months. It would also create humanitarian travel permits, establish a scheme for unaccompanied child refugees, and expand refugee family reunion.

  • It would work closer with Europol and French authorities to prevent human trafficking and smuggling.

  • The existing salary threshold recently increased by the Conservative government will be replaced by a merit-based system.

  • There will be exemptions for NHS workers and Care visa workers from the Immigration Skills Charge. The decision to ban care workers from bringing dependant partners and children will be reversed.

  • The existing income threshold recently increased by the Conservative government will be reversed.

  • The entire Immigration Rules will be made simpler, clearer, and fairer.

  • The existing Right to Rent Scheme will be repealed.

  • Public agencies would be prevented from sharing personal information with the Home Office for immigration enforcement.

  • The existing Youth Mobility Scheme will be expanded to be more inclusive, fair, and with greater financial incentives.


Bottom Line

Major reforms to the rights of asylum seekers, the income threshold for the skilled worker and family visas, and changes to the way migrants' immigration status and information is shared.


Reform


"Uncontrolled Immigration has Pushed Britain to Breaking Point".

  • The Reform party leads with its firm stance on immigration. The manifesto, titled 'Our Contract with You', pledges to take decisive action within its first 100 days in power, including a freeze on all non-essential immigration, stopping all illegal migrants entering via boats, and ensuring asylum seekers who arrive from a safe country are prevented from claiming asylum or citizenship.

  • All foreign criminals will be deported immediately after the completion of their prison sentence.

  • Those who have naturalised (acquired British citizenship) will have their citizenship revoked if found guilty of a criminal offence.

  • Student dependants will be barred.

  • A minimum of 5 years residency and employment will be required before access to any UK benefits.

  • A National Insurance increase of 20% for migrant workers to incentivise businesses to employ British citizens (who would stay at 13.8%).


Bottom Line

Stricter stance on all forms of migration. Deportation of all foreign criminals. Revocation of British citizenship if guilty of criminal offence. Less incentives for businesses to hire migrant workers.


 

Regardless of which party triumphs in the upcoming election, the UK's every-changing Immigration Rules will be affected. What remains to be seen is just how different things will be for those seeking to enter or stay in the UK. If you are in a situation of difficulty or uncertainty, contact us today for expert legal advice.

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