Britain’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, has announced the Labour Party’s vision for a fairer post-Brexit immigration system, including a simplified visa regime for foreign workers.
In a speech in London on Thursday, Abbott said that Labour would scrap the government’s target of reducing net migration (the difference between those arriving in the UK and leaving) to below 100,000 a year.
“The target had never been met and never will be met,” she said, as she called for “a new conversation about migration that is not fixated on numbers”.
She also vowed to scrap the minimum income requirement for non-EU migrants and to give people “more rights of family reunion”.
“We want an immigration system which is fair, and which is managed, in the interests of the economy and the community as a whole,” she added.
Abbott also pledged that Labour would abolish the Immigration Act 2014 and end the “hostile environment” policy deployed by the government.
Non-EU citizens, including those from Commonwealth nations, were being treated as “second-class migrants” under the current system, Abbott said in her keynote address.
Abbott’s speech comes ahead of a key report from the Migration Advisory Committee, to be published on Tuesday, on the impact of European Union migration on the British labor market.
The Shadow Home Secretary also repeated her criticism of the government’s role in the Windrush scandal, in which British residents whose family came from the Caribbean were wrongly targeted by what she described as the Conservative party’s “hostile environment” policy and in some cases were detained and deported.
One of the more controversial aspects of the speech was when she compared the immigration policies of the ruling Conservative government to that of former Ugandan President Idi Amin, who expelled around 60,000 Asians between 1971 and 1979.
“And this goes all the way back to the debate about East African Asians under Idi Amin, what we have always seen is the other-risation of migrants,” she said.