Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Oral Parliamentary Question (OPQ)
    Date of Answer: 30.04.2007
    Column References: 459 c1220-1
    Member Tabling Question: Lilley, Peter
    Topic: Immigration Points System
    Question: The Government have spun the measure as designed to restrict the number of people coming into this country. Is it significant that the Minister failed to answer the question whether it would do that? In the light of the use of the existing points-based system for highly skilled immigrants in the opposite way to that intended-namely, when it was found that relatively few people who had the number of points applied, the Government simply reduced the number of points required until the numbers increased by a multiple of those under the previous system-what possible ground is there for believing that the Government will use the new system to restrict rather than to pretend to restrict numbers?
    Answering Department: Home Office
    Member Answering Question: Byrne, Liam
    Answer: The points-based system has a simple objective: it is designed to ensure that those who come to this country from abroad, either to work or to study, have something to give that Britain needs. One of the virtues of the points-based system is that it is easier to move the bar up or down. I happen to think that that is not a decision that should be taken in a dark room in the Home Office. We need a much more open debate in this country about where our economy needs migration and where it does not. That is why we propose establishing a migration advisory committee, so that we can receive that independent advice. I also happen to think that we should take into account the wider impact of migration. That is why we propose establishing a transparent forum in which people can come together to advise us on where migration is having a wider impact on communities up and down the country. Those are measures that I would have thought the right hon. Gentleman would support.