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How Tony Blair’s Labour Party Revolutionized Britain’s Immigration System:
Press Release
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How Tony Blair’s Labour Party Revolutionized Britain’s Immigration System:

New Book by MPI Senior Policy Analyst Offers Definitive First Look

Under Tony Blair’s Labour Party, net immigration to Britain has quadrupled. A new book by MPI Senior Policy Analyst Will Somerville, published tomorrow, provides the first definitive analysis of the far-reaching policy reforms enacted in Britain over the last ten years.

Immigration under New Labour chronicles the transformation of Britain from a country of “uncertain backward-looking” immigration policies to a “veritable hotbed of policy innovation.” Somerville explores both how Britain has developed new economic migration policies, making it a top global competitor for skilled migrants and foreign students, and how a more restrictive approach to asylum seekers has been adopted. He also describes the new integration tools and security measures, central to the new immigration policy, and how institutional changes, including the establishment of a new Border and Immigration Agency, have helped deliver policies.

Somerville’s account challenges existing accounts of migration policy development with a fresh investigation of the combination of internal political factors, such as shifting business and government alliances, and external factors, such as globalization, that have led to changes in British economic migration policy. Similarly, he examines how public outcries about immigration, enhanced in the echo-chamber of the tabloid media, have led to increasingly restrictive asylum policies.

In the final part of the book, Somerville evaluates the success of the reforms. Based on the government’s own established goals for processing asylum applications and counting deportations, Immigration under New Labour exposes the gaps between aspiration and reality, and evaluates what progress that has been made in other immigration policies.

Immigration under New Labour provides a comprehensive review of radical immigration reforms as one of Tony Blair’s top domestic priorities, with more new immigration laws and policies during his tenure than in any other social policy arena. As MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou notes in the Preface, “ The transformation has been massive, relentless and completely transparent – and hence available for everyone to agonize over, criticize and witness the bureaucratic struggles endemic to managing an activist immigration policy.”

Sarah Spencer, Director of Policy at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, has written about the book: "Somerville has used his intimate knowledge of UK migration policy and the policy making process to provide an invaluable record of Labour's period in office. Traversing the breadth of policy from source countries to integration, he sheds new light on the conflicting pressures driving reform and the extent to which the Government achieved its objectives."

Demetrios G. Papademetriou’s Preface is available online.

Immigration and New Labour is published by The Policy Press, priced at £23.99 US$39.95 pb (ISBN 978 1 86134 967 5) £65.00 US$99.00 cloth (ISBN 978 1 86134968 2).

We are pleased to offer MPI subscribers a 10% discount – simply quote POINL when you order before 31/12/2007 at www.policypress.org.uk.

For orders in the United States, telephone: 1-800-944-6190 or order online at www.isbs.com
(For the 10% reduction please telephone, with orders expected to be shipped in October.) 

Orders in Europe and outside the United States can be made through The Policy Press online.