© 2018

Labour's Immigration Policy

The Making of the Migration State

  • Provides an in-depth account of immigration policy under the Labour governments, drawing on interviews and thus first-hand accounts from the people who devised the policy

  • Offers a comprehensive exploration of the policymaking process, and examines the ways in which the process itself can shape policy outcomes

  • Deploys a new theoretical framework to understand immigration policymaking and policy change


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Erica Consterdine
    Pages 1-19
  3. Erica Consterdine
    Pages 21-52
  4. Erica Consterdine
    Pages 201-217
  5. Erica Consterdine
    Pages 219-241
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 243-249

About this book


This book explains how and why the New Labour governments transformed Britain’s immigration system from a highly restrictive regime to one of the most expansive in Europe, otherwise known as the Managed Migration policy. It offers the first in-depth and candid account of this period of dramatic political development from the actors who made policy during ‘the making of the migrant state.’

Drawing on document analysis and over 50 elite interviews, the book sets out to explain how and why this radical policy change transpired, by examining how organized interests, political parties and institutions shaped and changed policy. This book offers valuable insights to anyone who wants to understand why immigration is dominating the political debate, and will be essential reading for those wanting to know why governments pursue expansive immigration regimes.


immigration policy migration policy managed migration New Labour British labour market Labour’s immigration policy organised interests lobbying policy networks collective action Labour Party British politics EU immigration politicization of immigration new institutionalism Britain’s history of immigration policy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and Sussex Centre for Migration ResearchUniversity of SussexBrightonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Erica Consterdine is Research Fellow at the Politics Department and the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex, UK. She is also a researcher for the Institute for Employment Studies.

Bibliographic information


“This is an important book, which uses extensive elite interviews and other core pieces of evidence to interrogate the explanatory purchase of key theories on the vexed issue of immigration policy. It is illuminating and substantial.” (Nick Pearce, Director University of Bath Institute for Policy Research, UK)

“This outstanding book elucidates an important juncture in UK immigration policy: the shift to a more expansive, economically-oriented ‘Managed Migration’ policy under New Labour in the 2000s. In doing so, it offers not just a fascinating chronicle of Labour’s ambitious reform, but also contributes to wider theories of policy change. A timely reminder of how policy change is possible, and essential reading for both scholars and practitioners with an interest in immigration policy.” (Christina Boswell, Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh, UK)

“…by far the most exhaustive account of immigration policy under Labour based on interviews with the actors making such policy.” (Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London, UK)