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Immigration

Volume 677: debated on Monday 8 June 2020

I thank my right hon. Friend for that question. He has long experience of matters such as this in the Home Office and elsewhere. On 1 January, for the first time in decades, the United Kingdom will have full democratic control over our immigration system, giving us power to determine who comes here and for how long. We do not intend to impose a cap, but our points-based system will ensure that only those with the skills our country needs come to the United Kingdom, and it is our expectation that total migration, as a consequence, will reduce.

With the post-covid economy facing unprecedented challenges and the prospect of job losses, in the same spirit that the Home Secretary showed in condemning this weekend’s wicked violence, will the Minister look again at the resident labour market test, which means that jobs have to be offered here before they can be filled from abroad? Rebuilding Britain mean backing British workers.

My right hon. Friend is correct that we want to encourage as many people as we can from the UK to take up job opportunities that are available. Our objective, ultimately, is to see a full rate of employment. We have laid out the points-based test that will apply from 1 January next year, ensuring that only people with high skills can come here, but it is up to this House and this Parliament to keep that under review, to ensure that we are striking the right balance in the way he describes.

I am grateful for all that the Home Secretary is doing to bring in this new policy, which I hope brings higher wages and higher skills, but does it not also require tougher enforcement against the dreadful people traffickers who are making money out of making a mockery of our laws and undermining all that we stand for?

My right hon. Friend is correct: people trafficking and people smuggling is a shocking offence that causes untold human misery. Last year, Immigration Enforcement made 259 arrests in connection with people smuggling and secured 101 criminal convictions, but I would like to assure him that this is an area where we can, must and will go a great deal further.