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Points-based Immigration System

Volume 671: debated on Monday 10 February 2020

9. What plans she has to introduce a new points-based immigration system; and if she will make a statement. (900682)

The Government will introduce a points-based immigration system that works in the interests of the United Kingdom, and that is fair and prioritises the skills people have to offer wherever they come from.

I for one welcome this, particularly the fact that we will be able to get the brightest and the best not only from Europe but from other nations as well, such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada. But Lichfield is a rural constituency—a particularly beautiful one, I might add—and we have a need not just for people with great skills but for part-time horticultural workers. What can my right hon. Friend do to assure people they will come to the UK?

Without wishing to compete with my hon. Friend’s beautiful rural constituency, I, too, have one. Of course, in order to take back control we are effectively bringing in these changes, and with that I am doubling the number of people who can go through the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, and more information will follow on that in due course.

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that such a points-based system will take account of the needs of communities across all regions of the United Kingdom, including my Bridgend constituency in Wales?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question on the applicability of the points-based system, including to his beautiful Bridgend constituency, and of course he is absolutely right to raise that. We want the brightest and the best; we want to control immigration, but of course we want to bring that equalisation so that anybody from around the world—not just from the EU—who wants to come to the UK, including Bridgend, and has the skills to offer will be welcome.

Will the Secretary of State provide some clarification regarding the proposed immigration system? It has been called Australian-styled, but the Minister will be aware that the Australian system is actually a permissive system designed to encourage migration, and as the hostile environment rages on surely that is not what this Government aim to do—raise migration. So will the right hon. Lady clarify exactly what the system is, and confirm whether the Government will scrap the net migration target, which was dreamed up without evidence and has never once been met?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question, and of course she will know that the hostile environment, as she called it, dates back to previous Governments. The point about the points-based system is of course that we want a simpler, faster, firmer, better system—one that fulfils our promises to the British people, where we seize that once-in-a-generation opportunity to take back control of our borders and end free movement, which I appreciate Opposition Members simply do not want. We will restore democratic control of our immigration, which is effectively what the British people voted for.

It is important to remember that it was the Labour Government who introduced a points-based system. It is important to remember, too, that many of the workers we need in this country cannot come in under the immigration cap of £30,000. The Home Secretary has looked at that for some professions, but will she widen it to ensure we get the workers we need?

Immigration legislation will come before the House in due course. With regard to the labour market and the skills this country needs, decisions on the points-based system will be based on the needs and skills that this country requires. That is incredibly important, so that no Member is deceived under that. It recognises the fact that we need good people with the skills our economy needs, which will enable and facilitate growth in our economy. We want to encourage the brightest and the best to come to this country not just from the EU, but from outside the EU.