The Fabian Society has argued that the war in Ukraine has demonstrated that the public wants a “fairer approach” to immigration “with competence and compassion at its heart” in a new pamphlet on Labour immigration policy.
The pamphlet, published today and written by Durham University law professor Thom Brooks, sets out more than 60 policy recommendations, covering subjects including entry, deportation, work, family reunions, temporary residency, becoming British and support for refugees.
Brooks argued in the publication that the “watchword” for Labour’s new plan for immigration must “fairness”. He based his recommendations on the principles of Keir Starmer’s proposed contract with the British people – prosperity, security and respect – dividing his report into three sections with those headings.
The professor, who previously advised Starmer when he was shadow immigration minister, emphasised the need for Labour to “convince voters” that the party can be “trusted to deliver the transformation our country so desperately needs”.
He wrote that Starmer’s “inclusive patriotism” is “sharply distinguished from the Conservatives’ embrace of divisiveness and general incompetence on issues like immigration”, arguing that Tory immigration policy has repeatedly failed.
Brooks wrote: “A new fair immigration plan must be underpinned by four aims. The first is it should be pro-prosperity. The system must better enable economic growth and take advantage of new opportunities.
“A second is it must be more compassionate, especially towards those seeking sanctuary. Britain should be a welcoming friend to those most in need and no longer a hostile environment.
“The third aim is flexibility. A new immigration system should not manage numbers by raising costs or making procedures more burdensome. It should be easier to use and adaptable to circumstances whether that is to support Ukrainians in need or to help businesses.
“Finally, the fourth aim is the new system should be underpinned by robust enforcement. Rules should not be created that are never used. The public must have confidence in how the system works.”
The report’s section on prosperity examines how Britain’s points-based system could be changed to improve opportunities for business, education and developing skills, as well as considering new policies relating to work and study. A section on respect discusses how the system could be developed to “support families, promote integration and celebrate citizenship”.
The final part, on security, covers topics including asylum and refugee policy, as well as how the immigration system can improve standards, deliver better value for money and achieve a more humane asylum policy.