Immigration Rules Advisory Committee for Immigration Rules for EEA and Swiss nationals

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 16th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Attorney General) 3:45 pm, 16th June 2020

I am grateful to the Minister for his response. New clause 31 was simply an opportunity to flag up the idea that we perhaps need to ensure that we look at immigration policy with a slightly broader perspective than simple numbers. The Minister protests perhaps slightly too much about collective responsibility and the idea that other Departments would have come to the same decisions as the Home Office in relation to certain policies, but I will leave that there.

I anticipated in my remarks about new clause 30 that the Minister would speak about the need for flexibility and the ability to act quickly. I am not calling for immigration rules in Acts of Parliament or anything like that; I am just saying that anyone who follows this area of policy closely over time knows that, in essence, Parliament has no realistic role in it whatsoever, and that has to change. It will not be changed by the Bill, but it is something that we should think about in the longer term.

On new clause 16, I absolutely agree with the Minister and totally welcome the ongoing work to simplify the immigration rules; the proof will be in the pudding. That is not an easy task, and I do not envy the folk who are undertaking it, but I wish them the very best of luck. However, new clause 16 is not just about simplifying what is already there, but about understanding the changes that the Government propose as we go along and providing detailed advice to help us in our scrutiny role. As some witnesses said last week, it is every bit as appropriate to do that in this sphere of policy as it is with social security, between which pretty good parallels can be drawn. I insist on pressing new clause 16 to a vote.