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Commonwealth Immigration and Visas — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:06 pm on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 3:06 pm, 27th January 2015

That is one of the conundrums of membership of the European Union. It goes with the club. However, there are probably as many Australians in the United Kingdom now as there are Greeks. We are not talking about two sides of a coin; we can look outwards to the world while recognising our responsibilities in the European Union. That is a wider debate, and I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman has focused us on a narrower issue.

I want to give the Minister the opportunity to contribute to the debate, so I will draw my remarks to a close. We must look seriously at possible solutions. I am attracted to some, and I am not attracted to others. In particular, I am not attracted to separate airport queues, as the hon. Member for Romford has proposed. The key message that I take from the debate—in the spirit of friendship, I hope that it is one that I can share with the hon. Gentleman—is that we should look at how to make it easier for businesses, students and tourists to come to the United Kingdom as part of managed migration. We need to know not only when they come, but when they go. We need to know that they are coming here for the reasons that they have given, and we need to encourage historic ties to ensure that we grow our economy for tourists, businesses and students.

I still think it is important—here the hon. Gentleman and I may part company—that we are part of the European Union and part of free movement within the European Union. Although we can apply certain restrictions on benefits such as child benefit and working tax credits, we still have free movement, which allows Britons to work and live in France and Germany, and allows Poles,

Italians and others to work in Britain and elsewhere. That is part of the deal, but we should not close our eyes to the wider world.