Labour announces immigration plans
Labour leader Ed Miliband plans to target exploitation of the migrant workersReuters

Ed Miliband will announce plans to set up a Home Office investigative unit which will target the illegal exploitation of migrant workers if Labour wins the election.

The task force will be challenged to increase prosecutions and fines against employers who encourage low-skilled migration and undermine the minimum wage.

Labour said the team will have more than 100 police officers and specialists from the Gangmaster Licensing Authority who will be given new powers to stop the abuse of workers.

The Labour leader will make the announcement on Saturday during a visit to the north west of England.

Miliband will also repeat his admission that the previous Labour government made mistakes in immigration policy and will say that it is an issue the next government will have to tackle.

He will attack prime minister David Cameron for failing on his promise to cut immigration to tens of thousands, affirming Labour would not make a pledge it cannot keep.

He will say that the Conservatives will "never be able to tackle immigration properly because they don't understand that an epidemic of exploitation is driving up the number of low-skill workers who come here".

Acknowledging exploitation

Addressing the cramped living conditions for exploited migrants who are paid below the minimum wage, he will add: "It's exploitation of the worst kind. But it isn't just bad for those people directly affected, it drives down standards for everybody else, undercutting local workers, and making life harder for responsible employers."

The Conservatives dismissed Miliband's proposal, saying that the party had cracked down on illegal working and would seek to change EU free movement rules if it won the election, according to the BBC.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire, for the Conservatives, said: "Nothing Ed Miliband is proposing today would help control immigration. Labour sent out 'search parties for people' and under them net migration increased more than five-fold."

The coalition government has increased penalties on employers who pay less than the legal minimum and has placed a cap on non-EU migration.

In the year ending September 2014, 298,000 more people had immigrated to the UK than emigrated from it. That is 46,000 higher than the year David Cameron became prime minister.