November 14, 2019

Labour's open borders policy is the biggest risk to our NHS

New research shows that net migration will increase under a Corbyn-led Labour Government which would put public services under increasing pressure. The analysis of Labour's proposals for open borders - which uses official figures and the Government's own methodology - reveals that net migration could increase to 840,000 per year if Jeremy Corbyn is elected as Prime Minister.

New analysis released today, using official figures and based on HM Government's own methodology reveals:

  • Maintaining free movement with existing EEA members would result in average net immigration to the UK of 260,000 per year over the next 10 years. This is equivalent to a city the size of Brighton moving to the UK every year. Labour's policy of maintaining EU free movement would lead to 2.6 million more people moving to the UK over the next ten years. This scenario is a minimal interpretation of Labour’s policy and represents a slight increase based on current immigration levels.
  • Extending free movement to the rest of the world would result in average net immigration to the UK of 840,000 per year over the next 10 years. This is equivalent to the combined populations of Manchester and Newcastle moving to the UK every single year. This means that levels of net migration would more than treble if Labour introduced their proposals for completely open borders.

This analysis is deliberately cautious and is likely to provide a significant underestimate of net inflows from non-EEA countries under Labour's plans.

This is in stark contrast to the skills based immigration system which will be implemented by a majority Conservative Government. We would be in control of our borders and decide who comes to our country based on what they have to offer, not where they come from. Freedom of movement would end in January 2021 and EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, said:

“Under Corbyn's Labour, immigration would surge, and put huge strain on schools and our NHS. Jeremy Corbyn has no credible plan for how to deal with the consequences of his open borders policy. The biggest risk to our NHS is Corbyn's plans for uncontrolled and unlimited immigration, forever. His plan to hold another two referendums next year - and all the chaos that will bring - will mean that his Government will not have time to focus on the people's priorities.
“By contrast the Conservatives will get Brexit done, end free movement and introduce an Australian-style points system so that we can control our borders and protect our public services.
“We will reduce immigration overall while being more open and flexible to the highly skilled people we need, such as scientists and doctors. This can only happen if people vote for a Conservative majority government so we can leave the EU with a deal.”

What you need to know

The full analysis, Jeremy Corbyn’s Plan For Uncontrolled And Unlimited Immigration, is available here.

Labour’s immigration policy

Labour’s official policy is to “maintain and extend” freedom of movement.

Labour’s 2019 Conference voted for a motion which said Labour will “maintain and extend free movement rights” in their next manifesto (LabourList, 25 September 2019, link).

Labour’s policy means extending free movement to the rest of the world.

The architects of Labour’s policy explained it means extending free movement “beyond the EU” (Labour for Free Movement, 25 September 2019, link).

Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants free movement to continue.

He said in a rally in Telford: ‘yes, there has to be that movement of people… I'll tell you this, I want to make sure that all those European Union nationals… can come here’ (BBC, Andrew Marr Show, 10 November 2019).

John McConnell wants ‘as much freedom of movement as possible.’

He said: ‘We're going to have an immigration policy which has as much freedom of movement as possible’ (Daily Mail, 30 October 2019, link).

John McDonnell has repeatedly advocated for ‘open borders’.

In 2013 he said: ‘If we’re a civilised society we should have open borders. We should be allowed to travel right the way across the globe wherever we want. It should be a basic human right’. In 2016 he wrote: ‘Inevitably in this century we will have open borders.We’re seeing it in Europe already. The movement of peoples across the globe will mean that borders are almost going to become irrelevant by the end of this century, so we should be preparing for that’ (South London Peoples Assembly, YouTube, 7 August 2013, link; The Telegraph, 1 February 2016, link).

Conservative immigration policy

A Conservative majority Government will introduce an Australian-style points-based system under which we will decide who comes here based on what they have to offer – not where they come from.

The system will be based upon the following principles – giving priority to those who:

  • Can live and work using the English language;
  • Are coming to do important work, including in priority industries;
  • Are setting up businesses that would employ and invest in British people and pay taxes in the UK;
  • Have been law abiding citizens in their own countries; and
  • Have the skills the country needs.

Regardless of whether they are from Europe or another part of the world, our system will welcome people who meet our criteria. We will end the preferential treatment of EEA-migrants so that we can attract the brightest and the best from all over the world.

Region Labour's Pension Tax (£) Extra Months to Work
England 11,167 44
East Midlands 6,150 50
Greater London 12,871 45
North East 9,758 38
North West 6,835 47
South East 14,270 40
South West 7,407 45
West Midlands 10,729 41
Northern Ireland 13,718 35
Scotland 10,653 41
Wales 11,691 36
United Kingdom 11,253 43

Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:

“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”

Read more about how this Pension Tax will impact millions of savers (PDF)