Anneliese Dodds suggests a short-term increase in immigration under a Labour government could plug skill gaps before the domestic training initiative takes effect.
Labour Party Chairwoman Anneliese Dodds has indicated a potential uptick in short-term immigration if Labour comes to power, with a focus on addressing the nation’s domestic skills shortage.
The shift from a target-based immigration policy to an emphasis on UK-based training could potentially see a transient rise in immigration numbers, countered by a longer-term reduction as more UK residents receive the training needed to fill skills gaps.
“We might see a short-term influx where skills are urgently needed,” Dodds stated during a recent Sky News interview. “However, a decline would follow as we train more people domestically.”
The Labour chairwoman cited the party’s commitment to double medical school enrolment and train an additional 10,000 nurses and midwives each year as an illustration of their strategic plan.
The discussion follows PM Rishi Sunak’s admission that he considers current immigration levels – which soared from 226,000 in 2019 to over 500,000 in 2022 and are predicted to reach a million – as “too high”. Nevertheless, Sunak shied away from promising a reduction by the next election.
While the 2019 Conservative manifesto vowed to lower overall numbers post-Brexit, Labour has criticised the Tory government for the ongoing skills shortages, due to a lack of domestic upskilling.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been vocally advocating for reduced immigration and greater domestic training, especially for roles like lorry drivers and fruit pickers.
Despite this, Sunak has shown a more balanced stance, considering the economic needs and assuring farmers that additional seasonal fruit pickers would be permitted entry if required.