Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Key events

Filters BETA

How Labor says it would change current work visa arrangements

In its press release tonight on Keir Starmer’s speech, Labor identifies four changes it would make to the current rules that allow some foreigners to obtain work visas. He says he would

Reform and strengthen the way the Migration Advisory Board works so that it is better informed, connects government departments on labor and skills shortages and anticipates future trends.

Address visa processes and timelines so that they work for employers and employees, avoiding labor shortages that hurt the economy.

Ensure that where there are gaps that need to be filled through international recruitment, we also provide adequate training, plans to improve pay and conditions or modernize the sector.

Ensure that all employers who can sponsor visas meet decent standards of wages and conditions.

What Starmer will tell the CBI about the need for business to end its ‘immigration addiction’

According to the extract from Keir Starmer’In his speech to the CBI announced in advance by Labour, he will say a Labor government would be “pragmatic” about the shortage of workers in the economy and would not ignore the need for “skilled people” to come into the country. But he will continue:

But I want to be clear here: under my Labor government, any movement in our points-based migration system, whether via the skilled occupations route or the shortage list, will come with new conditions for doing business.

We expect you to present a clear plan for more skills and more training, for better wages and conditions, for investment in new technology.

But our common goal must be to help the British economy wean itself off its dependence on immigration. Start investing more in training the workers who are already here.

Migration is part of our national story – it always has been, it always will be. And the Labor Party will never diminish the contribution it makes to the economy, public services, your businesses and our communities.

But let me tell you – the days of low wages and cheap labor being part of the British way of growth must end.

Now, I know most companies get it. But when we look at our economy as a whole, it may seem that we are more comfortable employing people to work on low-paying, insecure, sometimes exploitative contracts than investing in new technology that provides workers, productivity, and our country.

And we can’t compete like that. The British model of low wages must go. It does not serve working people. Not compatible with base growth.

Labor says Starmer’s pledge to end ‘business dependence on immigration’ does not make their policies the same as the Tories’

Good morning. Keir Starmer is addressing the CBI this morning, and, as my colleague Jessica Elgot reports in our report tonight, he will say that “our shared aim must be to help the British economy wean itself off its dependence on immigration. Start investing more in training the workers who are already here”.

And here is another quote from the speech.

We are not going back to the same old broken model of low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity, all enabled and supported by uncontrolled immigration…

The answer is… not to reach for the same old lever of uncontrolled immigration, to keep wages low.

The answer is to control immigration, to allow talented people to come to this country, but not to use immigration as an excuse not to invest in the people, skills and equipment, facilities, machinery that they need to do their jobs.

Oops, sorry, wrong speech. That’s not Keir Starmer for CBI 2022. That was Boris Johnson at the 2021 Conservative Party conference.

The comparison shows how – quite deliberately – Labor is engaged in an important piece of repositioning, on an issue that is at the heart of the Brexit debate and central to voters’ concerns.

But this does not mean that the positions of the Conservative and Labor parties are now identical. Jonathan Reynoldsshadow business secretary, this morning she also gave interviews in the program Danas Amol Rajanhost, told him that it is now very difficult to see the difference between the two sides in their approach to immigrant workers. Reynolds replied:

I would say that in terms of better pay and conditions in something like the care sector, we have clear employment policies that we have put forward, things like the Fair Pay Agreement, which would encourage [pay] across the sector. [On] wages and conditions, there is no government approach on this matter. They didn’t even fulfill their promise on the employment law.

In terms of things like better skills training, the Apprenticeship Tax was good policy, but it has led to a huge drop in apprenticeships since it was introduced. Our policy to give businesses more freedom would, I think, strengthen apprenticeships, but also allow them to spend some of that levy on other forms of training.

I don’t think anyone can say right now, if you look at the shortages in the labor market, but also the skills training situation in the country, that these things are happening now. So I think our plan is a clear, clear improvement over what’s going on right now.

9:45 a.m.: Keir Starmer gives a speech at the CBI conference.

11:30 a.m.: Downing Street is holding a lobby briefing.

11:30 a.m.: Dominic Raab, Justice Secretary, answers questions in the Commons.

14.30: Raab gives evidence to the Commons Justice Committee.

Afternoon: Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, addresses MPs and colleagues in the royal gallery at Westminster as part of his state visit.

I’m trying to follow the below the line (BTL) comments, but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’ll be more likely to find it. I try to answer questions and, if they’re of general interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com