It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer, and that of your co-Chair, Sir David Amess, who took us so ably through the evidence sessions the week before last.
At the outset, I would like to emphasise the importance of the Bill in delivering the future border and immigration system. It was clear from the EU referendum, from the many views shared on Second Reading and from the Committee’s evidence sessions that people want a fair immigration system that works for the whole United Kingdom—a system that attracts talent from around the globe and allows individuals to access the UK based on what they have to offer, not where they come from.
We heard many important views about the current and future border and immigration systems from witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee two weeks ago, as well as from organisations that provided written evidence. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to provide their opinions. The views that were put forward demonstrated a strong interest in a wide range of immigration issues, as well as in the specific design of the future system. The evidence highlighted the importance of learning lessons from the past and ensuring we get things right.
A clear message emerged about the need to create a fair and simple system, and those are key priorities for me in the design of the future system. As I have said previously, I recognise that the immigration rules need to be made simpler. That is why we have asked the Law Commission to review how the rules could be simplified. I look forward to considering its findings when they are published.
Leaving the European Union means that, for the first time in more than 40 years, we can deliver control of immigration by ending free movement. In its place, we will introduce a new system, which will level the playing field by ending preferential treatment for EU citizens. It will mean that everyone has the same opportunity to come to the UK, regardless of where they are from.