New Clause 54 - Instructions to the Migration Advisory Committee

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 4 November 2021.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 4:45, 4 November 2021

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has gone about his work during the course of proceedings, and for pursuing a number of angles with great tenacity and vigour.

The Migration Advisory Committee is an independent, non-statutory, non-time limited, non-departmental public body that advises the Government on migration issues. The minimum income requirement was implemented in July 2012, following advice from the MAC and has not changed since its introduction. We will consider whether to commission the MAC to review the minimum income requirement within the next three months.

In addition, the MAC considered the issue of work visas for remote areas in is January 2020 report, “A Points-Based System and Salary Thresholds for Immigration”. The MAC recommended a pilot for remote visas, but the Government did not accept this. The UK has a single, flexible immigration system that works for the entirety of the UK. Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would overly complicate the immigration system and would cause significant difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff across the UK. As the MAC itself has said, when considering sustaining remote communities we need to consider why people leave these areas. This is more important than bolstering local communities with migration. I therefore do not consider re-reviewing this issue to be a good use of the MAC’s time or public money.

It is not appropriate to put an amendment such as new clause 54 into primary legislation, as the commissioning of the MAC is done on a priority basis. The Secretary of State retains the power to change the topics, which the MAC reviews at short notice, if a more pressing matter becomes a priority. The Secretary of State should be able to respond flexibly to any new priorities. For those reasons, I encourage the hon. Member to withdraw his new clause.