THERE are no plans to impose a cap on the number of people permitted to enter the UK each year under the Government’s new immigration system, MPs have been told.
Home Office minister Chris Philp claimed that the new points-based system – due to come into effect on January 1 next year – will result in a drop in the level of migration to the country.
Speaking during Home Department Questions in the Commons, Philp also pledged the Government will “go a great deal further” to crack down on people trafficking to the UK.
He said: “For the first time in decades, the United Kingdom will have full democratic control over our immigration system – giving us the power to determine who comes here and for how long.
“We do not intend to impose a cap but our points based system will make sure that only those with the skills our country needs come to the United Kingdom and it is our expectation that total migration as a consequence will reduce.”
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Conservative former minister Sir John Hayes asked on the Government to “look again” at the resident labour, telling ministers to back British workers.
Philp said: “Our objective ultimately is to see a full rate of employment. We’ve laid out the points-based test that will apply from January 1 next year making sure that only people with high skills can come here.
“But of course it is up to this House and this Parliament to keep that under review on an ongoing basis to make sure we are striking the right balance.”
Sir John added: “I’m grateful for all (Home Secretary Priti Patel) is doing to bring in this new policy which I hope brings higher wages and higher skills, but doesn’t it also require tougher enforcement against the dreadful people traffickers who are making money out of making a mockery of our laws and undermining all that we stand for?”
Responding, Philp said: “Well, (Sir John) is absolutely correct, people trafficking and people smuggling is a shocking offence that causes untold human misery.
“Last year, immigration enforcement made I think 259 arrests in connection with people smuggling and secured 101 criminal convictions, but I would like to assure (Sir John) this is an area where we can, must and will go a great deal further.”