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Labour targets immigration reforms
Labour will attempt to introduce a package of measures aimed at tackling the problem of immigration from within the European Union.
Freedom of movement rules within the EU mean it is impossible to prevent European migrants coming to the UK to work, but the opposition will attempt to tighten up laws to ensure a level playing field for Britons.
Ed Miliband has admitted Labour made a mistake in office by not imposing transitional controls on migrants from eastern European countries and the proposals being set out to amend the Government's Immigration Bill represent what the opposition claims is the "first serious attempt by any party" to deal with the problems caused by EU migration.
The package also includes measures aimed at targeting illegal immigration and Mr Miliband's promise that large firms hiring a worker from outside the EU have to offer an apprenticeship in return.
The Immigration Bill has its first Commons test today but shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it will fail to address exploitation in the labour market.
Among the changes Labour will seek are new laws to make it illegal for employers to deliberately run shifts for foreign workers only, banning unsuitable housing being used as tied accommodation to offset the minimum wage and increasing the fine for not paying the minimum wage to £50,000.
Mr Miliband's plan for firms who bring in foreign workers to be forced to create apprenticeships was condemned by business leaders when he unveiled it last month.
The British Chambers of Commerce denounced it as an ''apprentice tax'' while the Institute of Directors said it was ''completely removed from reality''.
Ms Cooper insisted the Labour plans, which also include trebling the maximum fine for employing illegal workers to £30,000, were in contrast to the Government's "gimmicks" such as text messages and "offensive" advertising vans.
She said: " The Government is failing to address the exploitation of low-skilled immigration in the labour market. Nor do they have any serious strategy for tackling illegal immigration.
"That's why we are setting out sensible and practical policies, instead of the Tory-led Government approach of resorting to ineffective and offensive ad vans, gimmicks or incorrect text messages to people who have lived here for 30 years.
"At a time when there is real pressure from a cost of living crisis, people are really concerned that low-skilled immigration is being exploited to undercut wages.
"We need a system that is fair for all and a labour market that works for all. That's why we need practical measures to close loopholes in the minimum wage, or deal with agencies recruiting only from abroad, or gangmasters exploiting illegal labour.
"And we need more sensible measures to address illegal immigration. The Government is doing little to deal with problems at border control which have been getting worse, with fewer people stopped at the border, and more absconding.
"The Tories set out to play divide and rule, but they have been left with a net migration target nobody trusts, falling levels of confidence and increased public concern."