Labour is reportedly considering backing a post-Brexit visa scheme which would allow "unskilled" EU nationals to continue to come and work in the UK, it emerged on Wednesday 31 May.
A leaked policy paper, published by The Daily Telegraph, proposes re-introducing the Tier 3 system. The gateway was designed under Gordon Brown's Labour government as part of the points based immigration system rolled out in 2008.
But the visa for low skilled workers was never opened due to high levels of migration to the UK. Now Lachlan Stuart, Jeremy Corbyn's domestic policy adviser, has drafted a plan to reintroduce Tier 3.
The proposal is expected to be welcomed by sections of the business community, with the agricultural, retail and hospitality sectors employing large numbers of EU nationals.
But the plan will prove politically controversial in the wake of the EU referendum, which saw the UK back Vote Leave and the campaign's strict Australian-style immigration system.
"This leaked plan is the latest sign that Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott will never reduce immigration because they simply don't believe in doing so," said immigration minister Robert Goodwill.
Labour have also promised to unilaterally guarantee the residency rights of the more than three million EU nationals working in the UK as the two-year-long Brexit talks begin.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have promised to slash net migration to "tens of thousands". The figure was at more than 248,000 in 2016, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) release.
A Labour spokesman told IBTimes UK: "After Britain leaves the EU, free movement of labour will come to an end. Labour will introduce fair rules and managed migration, based on the needs of our economy.
"As part of our work in exploring the options, a number of discussion papers have been produced. This is part of one such document. It is not a statement of Labour policy, which is set out in our manifesto."
Oxford University's Migration Observatory has said that recent migration flows to the UK have had the greatest wage effects on low-wage workers.
"Dustmann et al (2013) find that each 1% increase in the share of migrants in the UK-born working age population leads to a 0.6% decline in the wages of the 5% lowest paid workers and to an increase in the wages of higher paid workers," the research body said.
"Another study focusing on wage effects at the occupational level during 1992 and 2006, found that, in the unskilled and semi-skilled service sector, a 1% rise in the share of migrants reduced average wages in that occupation by nearly 0.5% (Nickell and Salaheen 2008)."
News of Labour's visa plan comes just over a week before the general election on 8 June. The latest ICM poll, of more than 2,000 people between 26 and 29 May, gave the Conservatives a 12 point lead over Labour (45% versus 33%).