Amidst immigration debates running for the last few weeks, a plan of stricter border control, by the Labour party which may lead to the recruitment of 1,000 more border and immigration enforcement staff, has faced severe backlash by the Home Secretary, who has criticised that this scheme could possibly fund only 59 new members of staff.
The £45 mn recruitment plan that was leaked before its announcement, by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, said that the recruitment of 1,000 more border and enforcement staff will be ‘funded through the introduction of a small charge (approximately £10) to process electronic visa waivers for those coming to the country.’
Critics, especially Home Secretary Theresa May, has pointed out that the electronic visa waiver scheme applies to Oman (13,600 visitors to the UK), Qatar (48,300 visitors to the UK) and the United Arab Emirates (61,400 visitors to the UK). Even when you add Kuwait (113,000 visitors to the UK), which will join the scheme next year, that makes a total of 236,300 visitors, which according to Labour’s sums would raise £2.363 million. Assuming costs of £40,000 per employee, this means Labour could only recruit 59 officers based on the plans they have revealed.
Extending the scheme to other countries would cost more to operate than it would recover in fees. If Labour wants to extend the electronic visa waiver scheme to visitors from all countries that do not at present require a visa – such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – they will be creating a complicated new system that would cost more to operate than it would recover in fees of £10 per person.
A we went to press, Ms May said: ‘Labour are pretending they can hire 1,000 more immigration staff when their funding model would raise enough money for only 59 new staff members. And as their secret spending review contains plans to cut the Home Office budget, they are being especially dishonest.
‘And what’s more, by relaxing the Government’s immigration reforms, Labour would take Britain backwards and risk a surge in both legal and illegal immigration.
‘This disastrous policy launch shows Labour aren’t remotely ready for the responsibility of government.’