Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 25th November 2008.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism) 8:30 pm, 25th November 2008

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for the opportunity to debate this Motion. As he said, there have been a number of debates on immigration, and it is a key and important issue. I also appreciate the views expressed by colleagues in this House on a number of wider concerns affected by the changes in the Immigration Rules.

These rule changes enable the Government to introduce key parts of the most far-reaching reforms of the United Kingdom's immigration system for 45 years. Far from being labyrinthine or a recipe for bureaucracy, they simplify what were 80-plus routes into five tiers. If we were setting up the system now, we would consider what we have at the moment to be unbelievably bureaucratic and labyrinthine.