Immigration Rules and Border Security - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:05 pm on 21 February 2024.

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The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Tuesday 20 February.

“The security of the UK border is a top priority for me, the Home Secretary and the Home Office. Everything we do in this area is designed to reduce risks to this country and its citizens. Border Force performs checks on 100% of scheduled passengers arriving in the UK and risk-based intelligence-led checks on general aviation. It is deeply disturbing that information that has no basis in fact was leaked by the independent chief inspector to a national newspaper before the Home Office had the chance to respond. We are urgently investigating this breach of confidential information in full in the normal way.

Moving to yesterday’s changes to the Immigration Rules, since the launch of our Ukraine schemes the UK has offered or extended sanctuary to more than 280,000 Ukrainians, thanks to the immense generosity of the British public. I know that colleagues across the House are grateful for all the work that has been going on in communities to facilitate that support. Almost two years on from the start of the conflict, the UK Government’s commitment to the Ukrainian cause remains undimmed. It is right that we continue to adapt and develop our visa routes to ensure that they keep pace with the rapidly shifting situation in Ukraine. We must ensure that they remain as efficient and sustainable as possible, while providing stability for those we have welcomed to the UK and those who still need our sanctuary. Ukrainian nationals who may have previously been eligible to apply to come to the UK under the Ukraine family scheme will remain eligible to apply for the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.

Separately, the Government remain wholeheartedly committed to reducing levels of legal migration. Measures to curb immigration abuse and further reduce net migration are being implemented, ranging from salary increases for work and family visas to reforming the shortage occupation list, removing the right for overseas care workers to bring dependants, and requiring care providers to be registered with the Care Quality Commission before hiring overseas carers. The rule changes outlined yesterday, which relate to the care sector, pave the way for those measures to take effect.”