In analysis of Labour’s proposed Brussels deal to cope with the small boats crisis, Migrant Watch UK said the EU immigration policy could exacerbate the issue.
A Labour Party proposed “returns deal’ with the European Union to manage the small boats crisis could result in the UK receiving a higher number of illegal immigrants than it could return, analysis by a British think-tank suggests.
Migration Watch said the party’s asylum policy proposals “may exacerbate” the problem and could pose significant challenges for immigration control.
In an analysis paper published on Monday, the think-tank examined various aspects of Labour’s immigration plan, including its approach to addressing labour shortages, the proposed “Skills England” initiative, and its stance on irregular migration.
Notable findings include concerns about the independence of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and the potential impact of immigration on labour shortages.
Dr. Mike Jones, executive director of Migration Watch UK, said the party’s proposed immigration strategy presents “both commendable initiatives and potential pitfalls that demand careful consideration.”
Last month, Sir Keir Starmer indicated Labour could do a deal with Brussels involving the UK taking a quota of asylum seekers who arrive in the bloc in exchange for being able to return people who cross the Channel.
He also said the party would pay for more asylum caseworkers to help clear the backlog of more than 175,000 asylum seekers awaiting an initial decision on their application.
On Monday, Sir Keir went further—vowing to scrap plans to forcibly remove asylum seekers to Rwanda even if the policy is deemed legal by the courts.
The Labour leader told the BBC he was clear he would reverse the “hugely expensive” and “wrong” scheme, which he said would only ever impact a very small proportion of migrants crossing the Channel.
He made the comments on the same day as the Supreme Court began hearing the government’s appeal against the ruling that the policy is unlawful as ministers struggle to achieve Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats.”
In its research paper, Migration Watch said Labour’s proposed EU deal “might unintentionally” attract more irregular migrants, moving the UK’s border closer to high-migration regions.
It added: “A returns deal with the EU could also lead to the UK receiving more irregular migrants than it repatriates. This will pose challenges for immigration control.”
It said Labour’s proposals are still “vague”, possibly deliberately to “avoid the Conservatives adopting their best ideas”.