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Repeal of the main retained EU law relating to free movement etc

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 9:25 am, 26th February 2019

This is an opportunity for Members to express their views about the future immigration system. Far from giving the game away, the White Paper is an opportunity, and we have said that there will be a year of engagement on it during which we will consider all views. We already have a system in which nationals from some countries require visas for visits and others do not, and we will be seeking to establish relationships. All such matters will be for future negotiation and discussion. It is absolutely right that, as a first step in the process, we listen to what we were told in the 2016 referendum and end free movement.

I want us to continue to be an open, outward-looking and welcoming country. I reiterate what I and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary have said many times: we value immigration and the contribution that people have made to our society, our culture and our economy. There are many people, including hon. Members on this Committee, who are rightly interested in the design of the future system. That is why we are engaging on the proposals set out in the White Paper, “The UK’s future skills-based immigration system”. That will include sessions that are open to all MPs to discuss specific points of interest on the proposals. In the past few weeks, I have held engagement sessions with Members on students and workers, and in the coming days there will be another one on asylum.

The purpose of the Bill is clear: we are ending free movement and providing the legal framework for the future border and immigration system. Clause 1 introduces the first schedule, which contains a list of measures to be repealed in relation to the end of free movement and related issues. The clause fulfils a purely mechanistic function to introduce the schedule. It is the bare bones of the Bill. I look forward to debating it further with hon. Members, who may address certain aspects of it in amendments that undoubtedly will be tabled to other parts of the Bill. To get matters under way, I commend clause 1 to the Committee.