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Legal Migration

Volume 834: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2023


The following Statement was made in the House of Commons on Monday 4 December.

“Migration to this country is far too high and needs to come down. Today, we are taking more robust action than any Government have before in order to bring it down. Since my first day in the Home Office, just three weeks ago, I have been determined to crack down on those who try to jump the queue and exploit our immigration system. I have been working closely with my right honourable friend the Immigration Minister on this subject. The recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show a provisional estimate of net migration for the year ending June 2023 of 672,000. While that is lower than the ONS estimate for net migration for the year ending December 2022, it is still far too high.

When our country voted to leave the European Union, we also voted to take back control of our borders. Thanks to this Conservative Government, we now have a points-based immigration system through which we can control who comes to the UK. We prioritise the skills and talent we need to grow our economy and support our NHS, and we have a competitive visa system for globally mobile talent; for example, last year we expanded health worker visa access to address the urgent need for more social care workers. The whole country can be proud that in the past decade we have also welcomed more than half a million people through humanitarian routes—people from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan, including 85,000 from Ukraine and Hong Kong in the past year alone.

The British people will always do the right thing by those in need, but they also, absolutely rightly, want to reduce overall immigration numbers. That means not only stopping the boats and shutting down illegal routes but a well-managed reduction in legal migration. People are understandably worried about housing, GP appointments, school places and access to other public services when they can see their communities growing quickly in numbers.

From January 2024, the right for international students to bring dependants will be removed unless they are on postgraduate courses designated as research programmes. We always want to attract the global brightest and best. We have also stopped international students switching out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed. These changes will have a tangible impact on net migration; around 153,000 visas were granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending September 2023.

Today, I can announce that we will go even further, with a five-point plan to further curb immigration abuses that will deliver the biggest-ever reduction in net migration. In total, this package, plus our reduction in student dependants, will mean that around 300,000 fewer people will come to the UK in future years than came last year.

These measures are possible because we are building up our domestic workforce and supporting British workers. Thanks to the excellent work of my right honourable friend the Work and Pensions Secretary, our Back to Work plan will help people stay healthy, get off benefits and move into sustainable employment. It builds on the ambitious £7 billion employment package from the Spring Budget to help up to 1.1 million people with long-term health conditions or disabilities, or who have been in long-term unemployment, to look for work, get into work and stay in work. We are also investing heavily in helping adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future, and of course we have world-class universities that help in that endeavour.

The first point of our five-point plan will be to end the abuse of the health and care visa. We will stop overseas care workers bringing family dependants, and we will require care firms in England to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission in order to sponsor visas. Approximately 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023. Only 25% of dependants are estimated to be in work, which means that a significant number are drawing on public services rather than helping to grow the economy. We recognise that foreign workers do great work in our NHS and health sector, but it is also important that migrants make a big enough financial contribution. Therefore, we will increase the annual immigration health surcharge this year by 66%, from £624 to £1,035, to raise on average around £1.3 billion for the health services of this country every year.

Secondly, we will stop immigration undercutting the salaries of British workers. We will increase the skilled worker earnings threshold by a third to £38,700 from next spring, in line with the median full-time wage for those kinds of jobs. Those coming on health and social care visa routes will be exempt, so we can continue to bring in the healthcare workers on which our care sector and NHS rely.

Thirdly, we will scrap cut-price shortage labour from overseas by ending the 20% going-rate salary discount for shortage occupations and reforming the shortage occupations list. I have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the occupations on the list because of our new, higher skilled worker salary threshold, and we will create a new immigration salary list, with a reduced number of occupations, in co-ordination with MAC.

Fourthly, we will ensure that people bring only dependants whom they can support financially, by raising the minimum income for family visas to the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers, which is £38,700. The minimum income requirement is currently £18,600 and has not been increased since 2012. This package of measures will take effect from next spring.

Finally, having already banned overseas master’s students from bringing family members to the UK, I have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of the UK’s outstanding higher education sector. It needs to work in the best interests of the UK, supporting the pathway into high-quality jobs for the global talent pool, but reducing opportunities for abuse. This package of measures, in addition to the measures on student dependants that we announced in May, will mean that around 300,000 fewer people will be eligible to come to the UK than came last year. That is the largest reduction on record.

Immigration policy must be fair, consistent, legal and sustainable. That is why we are also taking the fight to illegal migration. Our plan to stop the boats is working. Small boat arrivals are down by a third, even as illegal migration across the rest of Europe is on the rise.

Today we have taken decisive action to reduce legal migration with our five-point plan. Enough is enough. We are curbing abuses of the healthcare visa, increasing thresholds, cutting the shortage occupations list discount, increasing family income requirement, and cutting the number of student dependants. I commend this Statement to the House.”

My Lords, legal migration is important to the British economy, but it needs to be properly controlled and managed. In the past decade we have welcomed more than half a million people through humanitarian routes, principally from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan. We in the Labour Party support these humanitarian routes, but the overall figures, which are way above these humanitarian routes, are out of control. People are understandably worried about housing, getting local GP appointments and access to public services when they can see that their communities are growing. The net migration figure stood at 672,000 last year, which is three times the amount at the 2019 general election. There has been a 65% increase in work migration visas this year, and this includes a 150% increase in health and care visas.

Yesterday’s announcement is an admission of the Government’s failure on the immigration system and the economy. The Prime Minister is now proposing policies he opposed six months ago and opposing policies he helped introduce. The Labour Party has said repeatedly that net migration should come down and called for action to scrap the unfair 20% wage discount, raise salary thresholds based on economic evidence, and bring in new training requirements linked to the immigration system as well as a proper workforce plan for social care. While the Government have been forced to abandon the unfair wage discount that they introduced, they are still failing to introduce more substantial reforms that link immigration to training and fair pay requirements in the UK, meaning that many sectors will continue to see rising numbers of work visas because of skills shortages. The Labour Party is also calling for a reformed and strengthened Migration Advisory Committee that could advise on the impact of all policies to ensure that the details are correct.

There has been a failure to invest in skills and apprenticeships. Some 160,000 fewer people have taken up apprenticeships under this Conservative Government. For engineering and manufacturing, apprenticeships have fallen by half while engineering visas have increased. The Government have resisted calls to link requirements for skills training to the immigration system, and the UK is failing to train and pay people in the UK properly, leading to a skills shortage and a low-wage economy that relies on migrant workers.

In addition to this, the asylum system is broken. As of October, the number of legacy asylum cases waiting over a year for a decision to be made stood at 32,109. There were, in addition, 85,000 cases under a year old that had not been dealt with; thus, the overall backlog has not been reduced.

The Home Office has now hit its target for the number of caseworkers working on asylum cases, reaching 2,500 full-time staff by the end of the summer. However, the turnover of staff rose between April and August 2023 to 36%, having previously dropped to 25%. This puts into question the level of expertise in the team and the quality of decisions being made.

Following changes to Immigration Rules, which make it easier to withdraw an application on behalf of an asylum applicant, the number of asylum withdrawals has risen to 17,000. In a recent Select Committee hearing, the Permanent Secretary stated that he did not know the whereabouts of these 17,000 people. It may be that the length of time that cases are being left before being processed allows people to abscond, or that details have become incorrect over time, particularly when they move address so frequently; or it may be that the Home Office is being stricter with its criteria for withdrawing cases.

I understand that the reason for the withdrawal is not noted. I ask the Minister: why is the reason for withdrawal not noted and does he believe that it should be? Either way, losing track of 17,000 asylum seekers is representative of the danger of allowing such a backlog to build up in the first place. Of course, legal immigration is important to our economy and, of course, we should meet our humanitarian obligations. But with net migration figures at 672,000 last year, with government policies that flip and flop, and local public services under pressure, it is inevitable that the voting public become sceptical and disillusioned. The Labour Party says there should be a longer-term plan for immigration for the economy and for our country.

I turn to a separate matter, which I received an email about today. I see that the noble Baroness, Lady Stern, is not in her place, so I will repeat the questions from Universities UK about the higher-education sector and how it may be affected. First, is the Minister able to outline timescales in terms of reference for the Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the graduate route visa?

Secondly, do any changes to the salary threshold and financial requirements for work and family visas apply to new entrants only and, if so, what is the situation for existing visa holders? Thirdly, can the Minister give clarification on what the new salary discount will be for roles listed on the immigration salary list if they are not part of the 20%?

Lastly, will the Government promote a clear message that international students are welcome in the UK, and that the Government remain committed to the international education strategy?

My Lords, yesterday’s Statement to the other House was one where figures were plucked from the air; one must draw the conclusion that they are arbitrary, in the sense that they do not have any background in what one might call a forward workforce planning regime for the country as a whole. One would have expected that, if you were to do a workforce planning regime for the future, it would be timed, looking forward as to the requirements on our workforce in this country.

It is certainly the case that the Government are well aware of the length of time that it takes to train individuals and get people moving along that pipeline. It is also certainly the case that the issue of medium-salaried people has come out as one of the major concerns of the document put before us yesterday.

The Statement, when examined for the sorts of people that the country needs who are going to be excluded by the regime, includes such people as butchers, chefs, welders and joiners. It is quite clear to anyone who has been around this country looking at the hospitality and tourism sectors that there are significant shortages of people to fill those places. It is not infrequent that you see a sign for a chef outside a restaurant where they are short of staff. The question to which we need to address ourselves is: where is the forward planning behind the figures that have been put before us?

Equally, the regional pay disparities around the United Kingdom mean that the wage levels in London and the south-east of England are very different from those that you find in other parts of the country. The wage levels that we are being told about have a bit of a sniff for the London and the south-east but are damaging to other parts of the economy where wage levels are different. The correct form of workforce planning would have had all these issues under review.

The issue of social care visas is obviously one of a lack of investment in the past. The Migration Advisory Committee has previously said that the Government’s persistent underfunding of local authorities, which of course fund adult social care, is the most important factor in the staffing crisis. The Government now say in the Statement that care workers without families will ensure that we have enough people to meet the demands of our caring services.

Equally, we are assured that the CQC will now oversee all this information, but there are problems for the CQC because its inspections do not actively address the working conditions and well-being of care workers. In that sense, the independent regulation of health and adult social care contains significant oversight gaps. How is the CQC going to ensure that those are fulfilled for those filling these vital posts from our immigration system?

I have questions about the impact upon companies in the sectors that are most impacted by the Statement. This comes on the back of last night’s discussion in this House. The Minister at that time did not recognise where I got my figures from: it was paragraph 12.2 of the Explanatory Memorandum for the regulations on fees that we were talking about last night. It says, and the words are quite clear, that there will be a significant impact on companies—these are the Government’s words—of

“tens of millions of pounds”.

On top of that, companies are now having to think whether they can afford to pay these amounts of money in order to recruit. A failure to recruit sufficiently for a company to operate means that the UK company itself might be in danger of not being able to continue to operate, and so UK workers might be affected by that decision. It is worth understanding what training and workforce plan is behind the migration strategy.

I have what might be thought of as a cheeky question, but it is one that worries me considerably, regarding the ability of British citizens to bring their partner to the United Kingdom to live with them, and with their children if they have any. I had a think about this and it was clear to me that a significant number of current government Ministers have partners from another country —we can all think of examples of that. My question is: what number of our population have partners from another country, given that £38,700 is a large figure for someone to be able to bring their partner to this country to live with them?

The danger here is that, in that development of a partnership between two people, the British citizen could think, “I can’t bring my partner to this country, so I will go to their country instead”. If they decide that, we might lose some of the vital people whom we need for our country, especially remembering that we are heading towards a time in our society where, for every elderly person, we will have only two people of working age. There is a big change coming, and we need to be prepared for it.

Have the Government assessed how these restrictions to legal migration will impact the numbers on overstaying visit visas? How many British citizens will be driven out of the country to live with their partners and children elsewhere in the world, as in the question I just addressed? Will the restrictions apply to workers who are already sponsored? Sometimes people have to renew and, when they do, will the restrictions that apply in this new Statement apply to them when they renew their work permissions in this country? Will an existing migrant worker’s salary have to rise in order to extend their visa? Finally, have the Government considered the disproportionate impact that the increase in family visa requirements will have on British citizens who live outside the south of England and London, because of the wage disparities around the rest of the United Kingdom?

That is a range of questions which we need to have answered, but the context of it all is: what is the plan? Is it merely a decision to have an arbitrary number which looks good to the public—or looks good in an election manifesto—rather than one which faces the problems which our economy, and our future as a country, will be needing?

My Lords, I thank both noble Lords for their comments and say to them that the level of legal migration remains too high. As a result, we have announced the five-point plan—my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Office announced it yesterday, as the House knows—and this package of measures, taken in addition to the measures on student dependants that we announced in May, means that around 300,00 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would not be able to in future.

As the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, has noted, the UK has experienced unprecedented levels of immigration since the pandemic. The figures are widely understood, and this is partly because of our generosity towards people fleeing conflict and persecution in Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Over 80,000 people have immigrated to the UK on our Ukraine, BNO and resettlement schemes in the last year. However, it is also because of the rising numbers of overseas students and care workers that the Government have taken action to address the rise in legal migration.

The new package involves a number of measures—five, which have been noted. We will reduce the numbers on health and social care visas and end the abuse of that route by stopping overseas care workers from bringing in family dependants and requiring social care firms in England to be CQC registered before they can sponsor migrant visas—I will come back to the CQC in a moment. We will remove the right for care workers and senior care workers to bring dependants from spring 2024. Care workers and senior care workers arriving through the health and care visa also bring a large number of dependants per main applicant, with approximately 120,000 dependants accompanying 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023. As has been noted, we will increase the earnings thresholds for those arriving on the skilled worker route, with the minimum threshold rising by 48%, from £26,200 to £38,700 from spring of 2024. Those coming on the health and social care visa route will be exempted, so we can continue to bring the healthcare workers that our care sector and NHS need.

The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, specifically mentioned the shortage occupation list and scrapping the 20% going-rate salary discount for shortage occupations, as recommended by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, which, I note, has not called for any more powers. We will establish a new immigration salary list, which will retain the 20% discount on the general salary threshold. This means that migrants working in lower-paid salary occupations on the immigration salary list will still benefit from the minimum salary floor of 80% of the new general salary threshold of £38,700, but migrants in occupations where going rates are higher than the general salary threshold would not be sub to further salary discounts.

We will ensure that people can bring only dependants whom they can support financially by raising the minimum income for family visas to the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for a skilled worker. We have also asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route to ensure it is fit for purpose, to prevent abuse and to protect the integrity and quality of our UK higher education.

On graduate migrants, I am very happy to reaffirm our commitment to attracting the best and brightest global talent to support growth. We are committed to ensuring that happens and have taken a number of steps to do it, including by introducing an elite route to attract the best and brightest, maintaining the UK’s status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies. We have created a scale-up visa, allowing those with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa. We have reformed our global talent route by expanding the criteria so that global prize winners automatically qualify, launched a global business mobility visa, and established the high-potential individual visa route to allow graduates from the world’s best universities to come to the UK.

The changes we are introducing—in answer to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby—apply only to those who come here on new visas. That means that workers with dependants already in the UK will be able to stay.

The noble Lord, Lord German, asked about the salary threshold affecting hospitality, accommodation and food services. Employers will still be able to recruit workers from overseas to those industries, but it is right that we increase the salary threshold to the level of median earnings to ensure that we do not undercut UK workers by using cheaper overseas labour, and to prevent downward pressure on wages.

As my right honourable friend said in answer to Yvette Cooper in the other place—there was no reference in either of the noble Lords’ comments to this—the £7 billion employment package announced in the Spring Budget will help 1.1 million get back to work and “stay in work”.

We do not believe that these measures will discourage carers who contribute to the UK economy. It is still an extremely competitive offer. We launched the health and care worker visa on 4 August 2020. This has delivered on the Government’s commitment to introduce a route which makes it quicker, easier and cheaper for eligible people working in health and social care to come to the UK. Those affected by this package are, as I said earlier, predominantly people with dependants who make a more limited contribution to the economy than those coming under other work routes, minimising the impact on UK growth. Care workers and senior care workers arriving through the health and care visa bring a large number of dependants per main applicant, with approximately 120,000 dependants accompanying 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023.

I said I would come back to the CQC. What we mean by regulated activity in the context of social care is that this relates to personal care. Personal care is defined as providing physical assistance to a person where they are unable to perform activities in connection with eating or drinking, toileting, washing or bathing, dressing, oral care or the care of skin, hair and nails. The regulated activities are further detailed in Schedule 1 to the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

There will be a regulatory impact assessment, which will be developed in due course, as well as an equalities impact assessment. I think that answers two of the questions from the noble Lord, Lord German.

I will answer the questions from the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, about withdrawal from asylum processing. I do not know why we do not record that information. I will endeavour to find out and I will certainly come back to the noble Lord. I can confirm that in the year ending September, 41,858 initial decisions were made in terms of immigration processing. That is twice the number that were made in the previous year. I am reassured that the clearance of the backlog is on track.

These measures are very sensible. They are clearly carefully thought through, and I commend them to the House.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his answers to the earlier questions. I shall avoid the temptation to discuss the proposals in general—I just wanted to focus on the significant impact that they are going to have on our higher education system. Perhaps I should mention that members of my family are employed in higher education. I am sure that the Minister understands that higher education is one of our success stories in generating public good and also, as an export, generating income for the country. Unfortunately, we have developed a system of funding higher education that depends on legal migrants; the education of UK citizens and residents depends on generating a flow of overseas participants in higher education who count as legal migrants. If the number of foreign students declines, that will have a direct and immediate impact on the education that we provide for UK residents.

My question was in a sense forestalled by the question from my noble friend, but the Government have to do more to indicate that they really stand by the policy of encouraging people to come to this country to benefit from the higher education that we can provide, because otherwise it will harm them and harm us. The policy is already having an impact; even the Statement itself will have deterred some foreign students from coming to this country, and the proposal to limit the number of family members who can come will have an impact on the students coming to this country, and hence on the education that we can provide for UK residents. Will the Minister assure us that he is seized of the point and that it is an issue that the Government will consider carefully in the light of the impact statements to which he has referred?

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord. Obviously, the universities and the education sector provide an enormous amount of good to the country in many ways, including, of course, in terms of soft power. As the noble Lord indicated, it is an export industry. We have reconfirmed our intention to attract the best and brightest. Our manifesto committed to establishing the graduate route. More than 100,000 people last year to September 2023 were issued visas for the graduate route. We have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review this route to ensure that it is fit for purpose and prevent abuse, protecting the quality and integrity of UK higher education. However, as I said earlier, I note the noble Lord’s points and broadly agree.

My Lords, following on from the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, on the Government’s own figures they expect there to be 140,000 fewer people coming in through student routes. How much income is expected to be lost to UK universities overall from that? Have the Government made any assessment of the regional impacts of this? There are northern and Midlands cities for whom the universities are a very significant part of their economy, and students and their dependants coming in are a significant contributor to the life and economy of those cities. Have the Government got an idea of the total cost of the 140,000 cut in students and how that cost will be distributed regionally?

My Lords, the figures that I have are in terms of sponsored study to the year ending June 2022. There were actually more than 400,000 main applicants granted and 152,000 dependants were granted—so it is the dependants who will not be coming. In terms of dependants, about half of them are adults and only half of them actually work, so I suspect that the economic impact of their non-arrival will be very minimal.

My Lords, I have three brief comments and questions. We know that there are 152,000 vacancies in social care in England, as reported by Skills for Care. This is of course a concern for the well-being of vulnerable people. The National Farmers’ Union reports a national shortage of 80,000 vacancies in the horticultural and agricultural sectors, but His Majesty’s Government estimate 40,000. This of course leads to a massive reduction in production and has an economic impact. As we know, this is further exacerbated in our rural communities. What conversations has the Minister had with these sectors about the risks inherent in their new policy?

My second point is that families come in all shapes and sizes, but when they are together they are stronger and more resilient. Families help individuals, communities and our society to flourish. Only recently, I met a Nepalese care worker in a rural church in Norfolk, off any bus route and not having her own transport. The church community has embraced her as one of their own and learned much in the process. Each week, she sends home a significant proportion of her earnings to support her very young family, but this is costly to that family’s bonds of relationship and she longs to see them. Will the Minister reassure the House that the department has applied the family test to these policies, and will he publish that assessment?

Finally, many faith communities greatly benefit from the presence of religious workers from overseas. The Church of England benefits from the ministry of clergy from all around the Anglican Communion, enriching our communities and resourcing individuals’ ministry for life, often equipping them for when they return to their country of origin to minister in places of conflict and abject poverty. Many UK clergy, me included, have benefited from overseas experiences. Will the Minister consult faith communities about exemptions for religious workers, many of whom earn below the published threshold?

I thank the right reverend Prelate for his questions. Of course, there is no barrier to recruiting people to the Church, as long as £38,700 is paid to them. I do not think that unreasonable, I am afraid. I appreciate that salaries may not be as high in the Church as he might like, never mind the rest of his colleagues, but that is the median salary, as I said earlier, and it is not unfair. As for recruiting to the health and care sectors, I think I answered that question earlier. Again, there are exemptions in place for those people and we obviously value their work and their service here. I do not know whether the family test has been applied. However, we also regard families as very important. If the lady whom the right reverend Prelate referenced is sending the bulk of her money home, one wonders exactly what the economic benefit is to this country as well. That is obviously an unfortunate state of affairs, but it is worth mentioning.

My Lords, just to follow up on a previous question, I am currently looking at reports of Home Office modelling that suggests that there are 140,000 fewer students arriving. Perhaps he will write to me about that figure, because it appears to be a Home Office figure.

I want to pick up on the point from the noble Lord, Lord German, about British people bringing foreign spouses and children into the UK. The Minister may be aware that in 2015, the Children’s Commissioner for England produced a report identifying up to 15,000 children who belonged to what were then called Skype families: children whom the Children’s Commissioner said were suffering from stress and anxiety by being separated from a parent by the rules brought in in 2012 that demanded a salary for the sponsoring partner of £18,600 for a partner and even more for children. There have long been complaints that there is no allowance made for the potential income of an incoming spouse, who may well be able to find a job and be a high earner; only the British resident can be counted to sponsor their spouse in.

We are now in a situation where the salaries of 60% to 70% of British workers would not be enough to sponsor a foreign spouse to come into the UK. I have been speaking to people affected by this, many of whom have found that even their MP does not understand the situation. Many people say, “You’re a Briton—of course you must be able to live in your own country with your spouse and your children must be able to come here”, yet 60% to 70% of British people will now be unable to live in their own country with a foreign spouse and will be separated from their children. Do the Government really think that is an acceptable state of affairs?

My Lords, as I have indicated, we estimate that only around 25% of dependants work when they come to the UK—half of the adult dependants; the other half are children.

I now have a marginally better answer for the right reverend Prelate on the family test. I can confirm that the policy is compliant under the Human Rights Act, which includes respect for family life.

I thank the noble Lord for following up on yesterday’s Statement today. I have three questions.

First, on student visas and the granting of permission to dependants to come to this country, which I understand will be restricted to those on designated research programme courses, does this apply primarily to PhD students in laboratories or in both science and humanities subjects?

Secondly, we have 680,000 international students in this country at the moment. The Statement mentioned the daily life strains that can be put on housing, our health services and education for our children. Will my noble friend consider extending the review that he mentioned to the educational strain on the hard-pressed resources of our universities—with teaching and lecturing commitments and additional administration—of having just less than 700,000 additional students?

My third question is a more constructive one on opportunities for the future. At the moment, a number of our universities have campuses abroad; there is a network of such universities in the UK university overseas campuses network. By the end of 2021, it had on its books 17 universities with 27 campuses abroad. Is there more to be said for putting the undoubted energies of the Government into promoting such campuses abroad? Perhaps, later on in his or her course, a student could come to this country for a special additional course, having gone through the undergraduate system in his or her own country. Will my noble friend consider or pass on those questions?

I am happy to confirm that PhD students will still be able to bring dependants. I do not believe that there is any differentiation between science and humanities subjects. I absolutely take my noble friend’s point about hard-pressed universities, particularly in accommodation and the schooling system more generally, which, as we are all well aware, is under significant pressure. My noble friend makes some very good points about campuses abroad and the efforts the Government ought to make to promote them. I will certainly take her comments back and perhaps share them with the Department for Education.

House adjourned at 9.04 pm.