Review of effects on measures in Act of certain changes in migration levels

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 3:45 pm, 18th June 2020

I will keep my remarks brief, in keeping with the spirit of Opposition Members’ comments. These clauses would require the Chancellor to review the effect of measures in the Finance Bill relating to changes in migration under several different EU exit scenarios.

I must emphasise that those scenarios are entirely hypothetical; that in itself is a highly questionable aspect of these new clauses. However, in any case, these new clauses are not necessary. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Ilford North that immigration policy should be fair and seen to be fair. It is absolutely right that the Government have committed to ending free movement by January 2021; that will not change. The Immigration Bill delivers on that commitment but, in the spirit that the hon. Gentleman identified, it also lays the foundations for a firmer and fairer immigration system that welcomes people—the best and the brightest, to use the phrase in vogue—wherever they come from, and that is a good thing.

The Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the role of the future immigration system and the appropriate salary thresholds for the policy, and the Migration Advisory Committee recommended against regional variation across the UK. As I have said, and given that recommendation, it would be disproportionately burdensome to create additional reporting requirements focused specifically on the migration impacts of policies in the Bill.