Immigration has to be a two-way deal

15th March, 2014 8:45 am

Over the centuries, migrants coming to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children have contributed to what makes Britain great.  Whether it’s the Irish communities who came here to escape the potato famine and built our roads, to the Jewish community fleeing fascism, or the people who came from the Caribbean and India to work in our health service.  Any industry, service, and business public or private has drawn on the initiative and hard work of immigrants.

But, Ed Miliband is clear that we have must have controlled migration and that fair rules must apply to those who come from within the EU as well as from outside the EU.

In his speech earlier in the week, Ed has spelled out how we will work with other EU countries to change the EU free movement rules.

If someone comes here from another EU country and they commit a crime they should be prosecuted and then deported. Committing a crime here means that you have broken the rules and should be sent home.  Currently you cannot usually be deported unless your crime is so serious that you have been sent to prison for more than 12 months for some violent crimes, or 24 months for others. That means somebody coming to the UK from within the EU could receive a custodial sentence for common assault within a month of arriving, but not even be considered for deportation proceedings because their offence didn’t meet the sentencing threshold. We believe that needs to be looked at.


If you come here to work but your children remain in your home country, you should not be able to claim child benefit and send it back to them.  Child benefit should be for children living with their parents – not for those in another country.

If you come here from another EU country for the first time, you shouldn’t be able to claim out-of-work benefits until you have been here for 6 months.

When a new country joins the EU, there should be tougher restrictions that mean people from that country should not be able to come to the UK to work without restrictions until that country has been a member of the EU for longer than the current 7 years.

And of course there are some changes that we should make ourselves and that the government should be getting on with immediately.

There should be tough enforcement of the minimum wage to stop employers using migrants to undercut the pay and conditions of longstanding workers here.

There should also be tough enforcement of the rules restricting the use of homes for “multi-occupation” so that neighbourhoods are not disrupted by employers using family homes for “hotbedding” exploited migrant workers.

Recruitment agencies should be banned from hiring exclusively from overseas, locking local people out of the labour market

People are right to value the part that is played in our communities of people who come to this country from abroad.  But it has to be a two-way deal.

Harriet Harman is the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

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  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    It is not very Labour, but I think that for the first time in her political career, Harriet Harman is saying something that the public would support.

    • Dez

      Just posturing from Harman,nothing will happen.

      The impact of mass EU immigration was clear for all to see after 2003 and yet New Labour still did nothing about the 7 year rule for Bulgaria & Romania..


      • JoeDM

        Yep. It’s just spin to head off some of those Labour voters who may be tempted by UKIP.

        The Leopard cannot change it’s spots. To think otherwise would by pie in the sky (couldn’t resist that!).

      • FMcGonigal

        The “7 year rule” WAS applied for Bulgaria & Romania. The proposal is to extend the period further, which would require agreement with other countries.

  • swatnan

    HH has forgotten to add that there should also be a clampdown on Benefits for British Ex-Pats enjoying the hi-life in the Costa or Provence. In other words a restriction in the amount of mony £ Sterling you can take out of the country or move to another country.
    Because its taking money out of the local economy. Thats what a 2-Way Deal implies.

    • treborc1

      Why surely we in the UK should get the same rights as others, the EU is now seen as an area of travel just like the states in the USA we are the United state of Europe or close to it. The idea is to have no boarders to be able to cross from one area to another, if I move to day to England all I have to do is give the DWP my address then my benefits will carry on, so why not in Spain who signed a cross boarder agreement with the UK.

      That is what the common market was about, you can now go to Spain have treatment in a hospital and have it done through the NHS because of the agreement of residency not holiday.

      Why should I not get my benefits paid to the country I go to.

      is that not what being in the EU was suppose to be about.

      Or is it just one massive employment con.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      You seem to be hard of logic. If a British person has worked in the UK and paid their National Insurance, then has their pensions paid abroad, it is not the same as a foreign person coming to the UK and claiming benefits in the UK. If they bring their Dutch or Italian pensions with them, who are we to stop them?

      As for taking money out of the local economy, are you so bitter about savers? There is rather more money saved in the UK and lent abroad in international business than exported abroad in benefits.

    • JoeDM

      If they have paid their NI throughout their working life then they have the right to their pensions & benefit in retirement where ever they choose to live.

    • Dez

      Beyond parody.

  • Steve Stubbs

    Mostly sense, apart from the fact that free movement of people is a fundamental principle of the EU and there is no way you are going to change it, no matter how hard you stamp your feet (that being the only negotiating power you will have without the reserved threat of an in/out referendum).

    Swatnan is correct that if you have earned your pensions etc, there is no reason you should not get them if you chose to live elsewhere. It is the things like payment of winter fuel allowance to pensioners living ii the Mediterranean countries that is ludicrous and must be stopped. British benefits should only be paid to people living in the UK, that includes their families where family based benefits are concerned, and only following on from a serious period of contribution, not just living but working here. Otherwise it will be come here, scrabble about in the black economy for six months, then you qualify, having contributed not a penny.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    It all sounds good but I can’t see it having any impact, it’s all for appearance.

    Do we really think our border control is robust enough to stop deported criminals from returning?

    The minimum wage doesn’t stop downward pressure on wages, it just stops wages falling below the minimum. So for those on the minimum wage it is protection, it doesn’t do anything for the rest.

    You want to stop homes being used for multiple occupation, well if immigrants are doing low paid work then they probably won’t be able to afford their own place, they’re sharing out of financial necessity. Where would you have them live, in tents? On the streets perhaps?

    • treborc1

      The Min wage was supposed to offer a Million people a way out of poverty, sadly the min wage is now seen as the national starting rate and the lower rate of sixteen to twenty five is a scam.

      I worked the hardest I had ever done from sixteen to twenty five and yet they are paid a miserable lower then cost of living wages.

      The living wage is just enough for people to live on and employers will look at this as am means of allowing governments to set the wage rates.

      these rates have to be altered to make them decent wages for a decent standard of living and right now the government says £26.000 is the average wage so make that the living wage rate.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Given that this article would only have been published in a “grid operation” by the Central Labour Party, there must be some disappointment. So much negative reaction from nominally supportive people.

    But that is what you get when Mrs Dromey is so shallow and opportunistic. Even your own people see through the charade.

    • Look, you may disagree with Ms Harman, but that is no reason to refer to her as “Mrs Dromey”. If Ms Harman had wanted to change her name on marriage she would have signed her article as such. That’s her decision to make and not yours.

    • FMcGonigal

      “he will tell the Harriet Harman to retire..”
      The Labour leader does not have the power to appoint or dismiss the Deputy.

      There will be an opportunity for the members to re-elect Harriet Harman (or not) should she choose to stand, under the new rules in due course. In my experience she remains popular among individual members (which is where she had most support in 2007) despite the recent allegations.

  • George McCarthy

    This is just appeasement! Just has Cameron offered his Euro sceptics hope with the referendum, Harman is trying to ‘cosy-up’ Labour sceptics, but these aren’t the only issues, as Cameron has found out! The problem is much larger and more deep rooted, even the Spinelli group have called for treaty change?


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