Hiring Cheap Migrants A Crime Under Labour
Employers who undercut wages by hiring cheap immigrant workers for little pay will be committing a crime under new proposals from Labour.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper also said there would be jail sentences for those who employ illegal immigrants wholesale.
The move is seen as an attempt to convince British people their jobs are not under threat from immigration.
The issue is a significant for Labour as the party heads into the election, given its track record on the influx of immigrants following accession for eastern European countries such as Poland.
Ms Cooper admitted the last Labour government "got things wrong on immigration".
In a speech outlining the party's new approach she said: "The figures were wrong, and migration was far greater than we expected."
Ms Cooper said: "We do not want to live in a society dependent on the exploitation of cheap migrant labour - it increases low skilled immigration, increases unfairness and resentment.
"This kind of exploitation should be illegal. But the law isn't working. We need change.
"The truth is that for too long exploitation in the labour market - a cause and effect of low-skilled immigration and illegal immigration - has gone unchecked."
She said there must be "clearer, stronger laws so businesses know where they stand".
Ms Cooper and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna will launch a nationwide consultation with businesses and trade unions on the matter.
The shadow home secretary attacked David Cameron's pledge to reduce net migration to 100,000, saying: "? he is failing to meet that target. And net migration has gone up in the latest figures by 60,000 to 210,000.
"At the same time, illegal immigration - which isn't included in their target - is getting worse."
She also announced proper exit checks at borders and that fingerprints of illegal immigrants caught at Calais would be taken to help prosecution should they try to enter the UK again.