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Volume 642: debated on Monday 4 June 2018

We will continue building and managing an immigration system that meets the economic and social needs of the UK, and I will set out further plans in due course. I am committed to a fair and humane system, and we are reviewing the operational assurance regime across the borders, immigration and citizenship system to ensure that it is effective and reflects best practice.

In recent months we have seen a squeeze on doctors’ ability to come to this country to fill vital roles in our NHS. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that we can access the skills that are needed while ensuring that our immigration system becomes sustainable?

We keep the tier 2 cap under close review. Priority is given to doctors working in shortage specialisms, as determined by the Migration Advisory Committee, and no one has ever been refused for any of those posts. We have taken steps to boost training places for nurses and doctors, and a record number of undergraduates will begin medical training by 2020, with 1,500 new places.

Order. As I seek to squeeze in the penultimate question, I am sceptical as to how enormously helpful it is for a vast array of colleagues suddenly to display an interest, but how can I turn down the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper)?

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Home Affairs Committee recommended in February that the Government look again at the tier 2 system, because doctors were already being turned away. The BMJ is now reporting that 1,500 doctors have been turned away even though they had job offers in the national health service. In the Home Affairs Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee, and across the House, there is a strong desire for us to make sure that we get the doctors we need. The Home Office said in response to our recommendations that it was simply going to wait until the publication of the MAC report in October. That is too late. I urge the Government to change the system now to ensure that we can get in the doctors we need.

I thank the right hon. Lady for her question, and I welcome the comments that various Select Committees have made on this issue. I have absolutely no doubt that she heard the Home Secretary’s comments yesterday, and I reassure her that we are looking at the matter closely.