A Labour government would bring in a new immigration bill within months of next year’s General Election, their party leader promised last week.
Ed Miliband said that a package of reforms would mean changes to border checks, exploitation of migrant workers and ensuring there were adequate opportunities for UK citizens.
Mr Miliband said that a system should be put in place with “stronger controls” on people coming to live and work in Britain and that he would also seeks changes to the EU’s “freedom of movement” rules.
“We must understand these are real issues and show that we are ready to act on them,” he said during a visit to the Kent constituency of Rochester and Strood.
The seat will be the scene of a high-profile by-election next month, with UKIP hoping to win its parliamentary seat.
While in this case it will be the Conservatives who lose out, Mr Miliband is conscious that in other parts of the country, UKIP is making inroads into Labour’s core vote.
He hopes that the latest policy announcement will show that the party takes public concerns about immigration seriously, although he has dismissed claims that he is allowing the Eurosceptic party to set the political agenda.
“False promises on immigration just make people more cynical about politics. I won’t be part of that,” said the Labour leader. “I will not make promises I can’t keep.”
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Labour abolished exit checks and destroyed trust in the immigration system.
“This back-of-a-fag-packet announcement, rushed out during a by-election campaign, shows Labour are in just as much of a panic about UKIP as the Conservatives.”