Jeremy Corbyn is being asked to consider two-tier controls on immigration from senior labour figures such as Stephen Kinnock.
Immigration is a hot topic in the country and Labour do not really have a clear message on where it stands over the issue. Former shadow cabinet ministers are arguing that a “progressive, fair and managed” migration system would be in line with the values of the party and address voter concerns.
The two-tier system would put skilled individuals such as teachers, doctors, and engineers who would be admitted to take on specific jobs. EU students with places at universities would fit into this tier.
Tier two would be low-skilled EU migrant individuals who would be admitted under a quota system negotiated between government, trade unions, and industry.
Stephen Kinnock is not the only Labour MP to call for some kind of immigration control. Chuka Umunna launched a cross-party report calling for better social integration.
He said, “If we seek to align ourselves with people approaching this immigration issue who say ‘shut the borders, all of the problems in our country are caused by immigrants’, that will simply be a betrayal of our values and we may as well pack up and go home.
“But equally, if we deny that population change poses a challenge to communities, then the communities we represent will feel that we have got our heads in the sand.”
Caroline Flint, a former minister for Europe said, “For years, Labour sidestepped public concern about immigration under successive leaders. It was just too uncomfortable. Now Labour has to get real.
“It is ridiculous that Labour, a party that has supported regulation of businesses and markets, would want no limits on an open-door EU labour market. Backing fair controls on immigration is entirely in keeping with Labour values. Labour has an opportunity to put forward a case for a preferential labour migration scheme – or risk being ignored during these crucial Brexit negotiations.”
So far Labour has not hinted at endorsing immigration controls.