The Minister might be interested to know that when I criticised aspects of the White Paper last week, particularly the proposed £30,000 salary threshold, her colleague the Secretary of State for Scotland said that he shared my concerns and that he would be making a submission to the consultation about the flawed nature of that arbitrary salary threshold. Does the Minister share her colleague’s concerns about the impact that that threshold will have on young skilled employment in Scotland?
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that when the Home Secretary published the White Paper, he made it clear that this was the start of a year-long conversation about the proposal contained therein for us to move to a single system based on people’s skills and not on where they come from. He will also be aware that the Immigration Bill has recently moved into its Committee stage, and we heard evidence the week before last from a range of experts giving us the benefit of their views on salary thresholds, including the Migration Advisory Committee, which proposed the £30,000 threshold.
Part of the immigration White Paper covers seasonal workers. I warmly welcome the seasonal agricultural workers scheme that will be implemented this spring, but can the Minister assure me that she will continue to monitor it to ensure that it fulfils the industry’s requirements and that she will not rule out retaining it as a permanent process?
I commend my hon. Friend for her enthusiasm and determination to see a seasonal workers scheme introduced. As she knows, the pilot starts this month and we are determined to work closely with the horticultural sector and those companies that are piloting the scheme to ensure that we evaluate it thoroughly and look for the best way to take it forward.