With the UK general election under two months away, all the major political parties have been promoting their manifestos; This includes various election pledges. One of the hottest pre-election topics, alongside the NHS and housing crisis, is immigration.
Overall immigration to the UK has increased significantly since the end of the 1970s, and remains one of the most important issues for voters. This is despite a pledge by the Conservatives before the last General Election to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands". The reality of the situation is that as the UK is part of the EU, the UK cannot control immigration from within the EU.
So where do the six main political parties stand on immigration?
Despite David Cameron's promise to cut immigration, the level of immigration has risen since he came into power.
The Tories pledge to cut benefits and restrict access to housing, healthcare and work. They have also promised a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.
Labour oversaw a huge influx of immigrants, some 3.6 million, during New Labour's 13 years in power. But where does leader Ed Miliband stand now?Despite saying that they are proud of Britain's diversity, Labour declare on their website that "reforms are needed".
Labour pledge to restrict migrant's access to benefits during their first two years in Britain, to tighten the border controls and prevent those who cannot speak English from entering public–facing work roles.
After a spectacular fall from grace following the broken pledge not to raise tuition fees for students, Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg may have a hard time having his election promises believed by some.
Clegg has been vocal in his support of "well-managed" immigration, and the belief that Britain is at its best as an "outward-facing" nation.
The Liberal Democrats have suggested restricting Universal Credit payments for migrants during their first six months in Britain.
UKIP is an anti-immigration/anti EU Party. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has made a range of claims to stem immigration, but these claims have not always been so coherent.
Farage initially said he would not set an "arbitrary immigration target", however swiftly contradicted this by suggesting a cap at 50,000. They have also controversially pledged to prevent the terminally ill from entering Britain. If Britain left the EU citizens as UKIP wants, free movement from the EU to the UK would end.
The Green Party, and leader Natalie Bennett, believe that the only way to curb immigration to the UK is to improve the quality of life elsewhere.
The Green Party have stated that they would relax immigration laws, and abandon the "artificial immigration cap". They would shut down immigration detention centres such as Yarls Woods, and give migrants the same access to benefits, housing and healthcare as British citizens.
Scottish National Party
The SNP want to see powers devolved around issues of immigration to create flexibility for Scotland. SNP MSP Christian Allard, who was originally from France, has said that immigrants can make a "key contribution to our economy and to our society", and accused the other parties of pandering to UKIP.The SNP want to utilise the skills immigrants have to offer to improve the economy, and quality of workforce in Scotland.
Comments from the Editor of workpermit.com News, Sanwar Ali:
I think too much of the time Politicians are creating imaginary problems relating to immigration. They then come up with policies to deal with these imaginary problems. Immigrants overall claim less in the way of benefits than others in the UK. However, political parties claim that it is important to reduce access to benefits to immigrants. In reality this will not make much difference.
Many politicians also claim that they have more power than they actually have to reduce immigration. The UK as part of the EU has to allow free movement from within the EU. Therefore the UK has little control over entry of EU citizens to the UK.
Very serious problems at organization sponsored by the Home Office
I have to also say again that I am very much concerned about the actions of an organization "sponsored" by the Home Office. The General Election is less than two months away on 7 May. It is important that the public knows what is happening before then. We have carried out an investigation into this organization and are shocked at what we have found:
- They have tried to prevent freedom of speech. This is at a time when it is particularly important that websites such as workpermit.com provide news and information for an informed debate on immigration. In Nazi Germany they burnt books to prevent freedom of speech. Is this organization doing the modern equivalent of "burning books"?
- They have knowingly made numerous false and untrue statements.
- As you would expect in this sort of organization. Complaints are either ignored or "lost".
- They have become involved with fraudsters so leading to yet more fraud.
Time and time again you find that organizations that are not accountable to anyone but themselves have serious problems. They cover up mistakes. Over the years the situation becomes worse and worse. Eventually there comes a point when the organization is beyond saving. It is interesting to note that this is what Theresa May the current Home Secretary thought about the former UK Border Agency (UKBA). UKBA was closed down by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and became part of the Home Office in 2013.