Ed Miliband, the leader of the UK's opposition Labour Party has promised to cut immigration to the UK in the event that he becomes Prime Minister at the next election in 2015. He has also promised to require British firms that employ non-EU workers to set up apprenticeship schemes. Over all, his proposals do not seem to introduce any major change.
Mr Miliband has recently been under some pressure to explain what Labour would do if elected to office. He has been leader of the opposition for three years and the UK press has criticised him for a failure to set out any alternatives to the current Coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Mr Miliband has even been under pressure from within his own party. A recent poll conducted for the BBC found that 30% of Labour councillors believe that the Labour Party would be doing better if someone else was party leader though a challenge to Mr Miliband's leadership is unlikely. It is said that Mr Miliband himself views this year's party conference as vital if he is to lead his party to success in 2015.
Labour would 'crack down on exploitation of workers'Speaking on Sunday 22nd September to the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Mr Miliband said that a Labour government after 2015 would introduce an immigration bill which would provide for 'secure control of our borders, crack down on exploitation of workers coming here undercutting workers already here and says to big companies that bring in people from outside the EU that they can do that within a cap but they have got to train the next generation'.
Mr Miliband said that Labour would
- Keep the cap on Tier 2 (General) skilled worker visas coming to the UK from outside the EU. The cap currently stands at 20,700 per year though Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visas are exempt from the cap
- Require larger UK firms which employ foreign workers to take on one apprentice for every worker they employ with a Tier 2 (General) visa
- Introduce measures to ensure that firms do not employ workers brought in from overseas at rates of pay below the UK's national minimum wage. Mr Miliband has said before that this would ensure that it was not cheaper to employ foreign workers and so would make it more likely that British workers could get jobs.
- Prevent recruitment firms from advertising jobs only to foreign workers
Employers criticise Miliband proposalsMr Miliband's proposal was unpopular with employers' organisations. The British Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British Industry all said that the introduction of the apprenticeship requirements would damage competitiveness and increase costs.
John Longworth of the British Chambers of Commerce claimed that the scheme would not help control immigration and would not help young people get jobs either.
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