Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley: My Lords, will my noble friend bear in mind that, over the last decade, total immigration —which ran at half the level of the last 12 months—was equal to the combined populations of Southampton, Portsmouth, Oxford, Nottingham, Middlesbrough, Leicester, Exeter, Derby and Carlisle? We wonder why we have a housing shortage. Has my noble friend the Minister ever heard those who oppose any tightening of immigration restrictions recognise that they are condemning a whole generation of British-born young people to living at home or in cramped bed-sits until they are middle-aged?

    Lord Murray of Blidworth: It may assist my noble friend if I remind the Chamber that work visas are 82% higher than they were in 2019 and that this is in part driven by an increase in health and care visas, which make up 50% of all skilled worker visas issued. Family-related visas are 31% lower than in 2019. It is clear that there is a need for more people in the health and care sector, and visas are awarded in relation to that. That is the reason for these exceptional figures. Again, I point to the fact that the figures this year reflect the problems of coming out of the pandemic and the international conflict that we have had to deal with.