Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, told a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference that she would abandon the net migration targets set (and missed) by the present government. These targets have been much criticised by businesses, universities and immigration lawyers.
She said Labour would set specific targets for different types of immigration- they will address UK student visas, Skilled Migrant Visas, Work Visas, and Family Visit Visas separately.
She said “We think immediately what should happen is that students… should be taken out of the net migration target straight away”.
She criticised the net migration calculation for its failure to distinguish between types of immigration which are significantly different.
This is a significant move in a climate of escalating anti-immigration rhetoric and in the months leading up to the next General Election. Labour will be concerned to prevent anti-immigration UKIP and others from presenting this position in a misleading way to the significant part of the electorate who appear to be primarily concerned about migrant inflow- so we can expect this statement to feed political debate over the coming days and weeks.
Labour will be expecting UKIP to seize on this statement its ongoing efforts to recruit “disaffected white working-class Labour voters” (where do they get the idea that politicians are so manipulative?).