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Points-based System

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many businesses had applied for licences to sponsor foreign migrants under the points-based system by 31st May 2008. (208989)

The number of sponsors who had applied for registration to sponsor migrants under the points-based system by 31 May 2008 was 125.

Note:

The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the number of businesses likely to apply for a licence to sponsor migrants in 2008 who had not done so by 31 May 2008. (208991)

Our planning assessment indicates that potentially 14,000 sponsors may apply for registration to sponsor migrants by the end of this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will put in place measures to ensure that imams in the United Kingdom who have been issued with religious visas do not espouse a doctrine of violence against those who wish to leave the Islamic faith. (208792)

With the introduction of the points-based system (PBS) for managing migration, only genuine and reputable employers will be granted a licence to bring migrants to the UK, and this will include religious organisations wishing to bring in religious workers. This is in addition to other measures already in place, such as the screening of passengers at ports, the use of alerts and watch-lists, and checking biometrics taken from visa applicants. The Home Secretary also has the power to exclude or deport from the UK those non-UK nationals whose presence here is not conducive to the public good. This would include those who come within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours announced by the former Home Secretary on 24 August 2005.

We are building on the work that local communities, institutions and organisations are already taking forward to stop people becoming or supporting violent extremists. We see faith leaders as central to a co-ordinated effort to stop promoters of violent extremism from operating unchallenged.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations she has received from the catering industry on the points-based immigration system; which groups she met as part of the development process of the points-based system before it was introduced; how many catering or restaurant groups and organisations she met as part of the development process; and what processes will exist to monitor the sex, age and country of origin of immigrants entering the UK through the points-based system. (202716)

The Home Office sent its consultation on proposals for a points-based system to 52 representative groups and employers in the hospitality and catering industry and received 10 responses. I have had meetings with interest groups on the development of the points- based system including the Bangladeshi Caterers Association and representatives of the Chinese community. The British Hospitality Association is represented on the Employer Taskforce which, as a consultative group, has informed development of the points-based system. The Home Office will publish an equality impact assessment when it publishes a statement of intent in respect of its proposals for tier 2 of the points-based system and this will indicate what measures will be put in place to monitor race, age and gender impacts.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many compliance officers are employed by her Department to make checks on job roles, qualifications and salary under the points-based system; and what the average caseload of each compliance officer is; (208117)

(2) how many account managers are employed by her Department to provide help and guidance to sponsors in discharging their responsibilities under the points-based system; and what the average caseload of each account manager is.

There are at present 160 Visiting Officers across the UK who undertake the compliance and account management function under the points-based system.

This figure is likely to increase by March 2009.

The current average caseload of each Visiting Officer is 3.5 visits each week.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost of employing (a) account managers and (b) compliance officers to deal with sponsorship and compliance under the points-based system in each of the next 10 years. (208182)

The forecast cost for the current financial year is £6.7 million.

Requirements for future years will be reviewed in due course.