Earned Citizenship

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough 12:31 pm, 20th February 2008

May I advise my right hon. Friend that one reason why we have such excellent race relations in Britain is that migrants to this country relatively quickly achieve permanent residence, unlike those to other countries in Europe, for example, where their status remains unsecure and unclear for a long time? I am concerned that these proposals might damage those good relations. However, to get to her point about the fund, which will be raised by a levy on migrants, I have looked at the income from visa fees, which was £190 million last year. The fee for settlement is £500, or £650 if the person is in the UK. How can one raise tens of millions of pounds from additional fees? Will they deal with the issue? My local authority, for example, says that it requires a £5 million—