Diane Abbott attacks immigration plan for letting in too many people from poor countries

PM has become 'liberal' with immigration says commentator

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The former shadow home secretary claimed ministers were “asset stripping poor countries” by creating fresh routes that would allow those from other parts of the world to work in the UK. The Government will offer work visas to graduates from the world’s best universities in a bid to attract the “best and brightest” workers.

Under the scheme announced today, graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the top 50 universities abroad can apply for a two-year work visa and will be allowed to bring family members with them.

Those who receive doctorates can apply for a three-year visa.

Successful applicants will then be able to switch to longer-term employment visas, the Government said.

But Ms Abbott criticised the plans for likely bringing in too many people from lower income countries.

The Hackney North MP said: “Government boast it is opening up visas to the world’s top graduates.

“But many originally come from third world countries.

“Why is Britain asset stripping poor countries like this?”

Her comments appear to be in stark contrast to her views when a part of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.

In 2018, she accused the Government of failing to allow more migration to the country despite a shortage in sectors where there was a skills gap in the UK.

The long-serving MP outlined her vision at the time for a system that would see a rise in migrants to fill vacancies in areas such as the NHS while British workers were trained up.

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At Labour’s annual conference, she said: “It takes eight to ten years to train a fully qualified doctor.

“We have a shortage of doctors now. We also have a shortage of nurses.

“We will need more engineers, more scientists, more highly qualified professionals and technicians.”

Setting out Labour’s plan for immigration, she added: “The new, integrated, streamlined work visa allows us to offer rights of work and residency to a range of professions, workers and those creating employment who want to come here.

“It will be available to all those we need to come here, whether it is doctors, or scientists, or care workers, or others.

“It will be a flexible system. We will avoid the idiocy of preventing doctors and nurses from coming here to take up job offers.”

Ms Abbott specifically drew attention to migrants from Commonwealth countries in her speech, accusing them of being “treated as second-class migrants”.

Around three-quarters of Commonwealth states are middle or lower income countries.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “proud” the UK system would put “ability and talent first, not where someone comes from”.

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