Shabana Mahmood MP, Shadow Home Office Minister, said in response to the Tory-led Government's announcement on immigration rules today:
“We support reform in this area, which is why the Labour Government introduced tough changes to the settlement regime through our policy of Earned Citizenship. Unfortunately the Government abandoned this work. We will scrutinise the Government’s proposals carefully, including the impact of any changes on the economy.
“However, changes to the settlement regime are only effective if they are backed up by strong and consistent enforcement of the rules. Reports from the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Independent Inspector of the UKBA in recent weeks have all highlighted different ways in which the UKBA is already struggling to maintain an effective border and remove people whose visas have expired.
“On top of this, the Government has imposed a 20% cut on the UKBA budget, which will mean the loss of over 5000 jobs. It is inevitable that enforcement will suffer as a result.
“The Government needs to be straight with the public. Its key pledge on immigration – to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015 - is in disarray, and they have once again failed to explain to the public how this will be achieved. The Government talks tough on immigration, but it is clear that it is failing to deliver”.