Sunak says immigration numbers are ‘too high’ – but dismisses admissions system as ‘out of control’
Rishi Sunak interviewed on ITV’s This Morning.
He said the level of immigration was too high, but rejected claims that it was out of control. This is from the Daily Mirror’s Lizzy Buchan.
Q: What is your target for reducing immigration?
Altar says he wants to lower immigration. But he inherited a net immigration figure of nearly 500,000, he said.
Q: When will we see the first people sent to Rwanda?
Altar says he thinks people support the plan. It is unfair if people come here illegally, he said. That’s not fair to the taxpayers, and it’s not fair to the people who need help. The government wants to welcome vulnerable people; but this cannot be done if people come to the UK illegally, he said.
Jenrick claimed that processing asylum seekers’ claims more quickly could lead to more people coming to the UK
Clive Efford (Lab) asked why the government had done so poorly in terms of dealing with the backlog of asylum claims.
Jenrick says the government is still committed to clearing the backlog this year.
But he said Labor’s claim that dealing with the backlog will reduce the number of people coming to the country is wrong. He said:
However, it is incorrect to suggest that if you process the claims of illegal immigrants faster, that will reduce the number of people entering the country. In all likelihood, this will lead to an increase.
(This is an extraordinary claim. Jenrick seems to be saying that the PM’s policy will make the situation worse.)
Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem) says Jenrick makes a good case for wage inflation. (See 10.49am.) He wondered what they thought about it at the Treasury.
He said that the government is increasing the fishing of the lack of work list for work visas. But he said it would not help the fishing industry because of the rules that require people to speak English.
Jenrick defends English language requirements. People who come to work here should be able to speak English, he said. He said the required standard is low. And he said it was necessary for the health and safety of the fishing boats.
Sir Desmond Swayne (Con) asked what effect the measures announced this week will have on reducing the number of student dependents coming to the UK?
Jenrick says he thinks they’ll have a “huge” impact, but he doesn’t give a number.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick says he can see the case for raising salary thresholds for work visas
Sir Edward Leigh (Con) says some in the Treasury think immigration is good for the economy. But that’s not good for productivity. He said it would be better if people were only allowed in the UK to work if they earned the median UK salary, £33,000.
Jenrick says he has a lot of sympathy with this argument. In some instances, high levels of immigration push up wages, he said.
He said the government is creating a points-based immigration system, with salary thresholds. If further changes are needed, the government will act.
Stuart C McDonaldthe SNP’s immigration spokesman, began his contribution by thanking immigrants who come to the UK to work.
He asked if Jenrick accepted that immigration requirements differed in different parts of the country.
Jenrick said he did not expect a question saying that net migration is too low. But that was the SNP’s position, he said.
He says the government does not support having separate immigration systems for different parts of the UK.
Jenrick Cooper answered.
He said no one believes that Labor wants to reduce immigration.
When Keir Starmer stood for the Labor leadership, he supported free movement, he said. And he said Starmer had previously said Britain’s immigration laws were racist.
Yvette Cooperthe shadow home secretary, who posed the urgent question, replied to Robert Jenrick.
He asked why Suella Braverman was not in the Commons to answer UQ herself. He joked that he might be in the Home Office doing another private course.
He said Labor would recruit more doctors and nurses at home, using money from the abolition of non-dom status, to reduce the need for staff to be hired from abroad.
And he asked why the government would not support Labour’s plan to remove the 20% wage discount for foreign workers.
Robert Jenrickthe minister of immigration, says that net migration is too high.
But he said it has been flatlining since last summer.
He said a “big part” of the reason why the numbers are now so high is that the government is taking in refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong. He defended these schemes, saying they had public support.
But the government is committed to lowering net immigration numbers, he said.
He said the government expects it to fall to pre-pandemic levels in the medium term.
Labor says immigration figures show government has ‘no plan and no grip’
We are about to get an urgent question about immigration numbers from Yvette Cooper, the shadow house secretary. He has just released this statement, which might give a taste of what he has to say to MPs.
These extraordinary numbers, including the doubling of the number of work visas since the pandemic, show that the Conservatives have no plan and no grip on immigration. Ministers have completely failed to address skills shortages, especially in health and social care, or to get people back to work after Covid.
Net migration should go down and we expect it to do so. The support that we have given to the people of Ukraine and the people of Hong Kong has affected the numbers this year. But that doesn’t hide the fact that the Conservatives’ chaotic approach means work visas are up 119 per cent, net migration is more than double the level ministers want, and the asylum backlog is at an all-time high. record despite Rishi Sunak’s promise. to clear it this year.
Labor will put skills and fairness at the heart of the immigration system – tackling skills shortages and ending the unfair wage discount that employers who recruit from overseas have to pay on-going rate. Immigration makes an important contribution to Britain so it needs to be properly managed and controlled so that the system is fair.
Sunak told ITV’s This Morning that being PM is tough – but she likes Jilly Cooper novels because ‘you need escapism’
Q: People want to know a little about you. How do your daughters deal with reading about you in the papers?
Altar says his kids are 10 and 12, and don’t really follow the news. That’s good, he said. He said that he has been in politics for the past few years, so they are used to that. But basically he is the father. They are more interested in things like playing Top Trumps.
Q: Is it true that you like Jilly Cooper’s books?
Yes, it says AltarRiders, Rivals, Polo – he likes them, he said.
Q: When did you cry?
He said it was something one of their children would do, once upon a time.
Q: What is your biggest regret?
Altar take a long time to think.
He joked about revealing that he liked Jilly Cooper’s books.
But they are good, he said. “You have to have escapism in your life”, he said.
Q: How does the reality of being a PM compare to expectations?
Altar said he did not expect to get the job. But he believes he can make a difference.
The work is difficult, he said. He listed the issues he was dealing with. But he thought he could make a difference.
Getting illegal immigration can be difficult. But he thinks he can do it, he said.
Q: You are launching a new NHS app. What will it do? Lower the waiting lists?
Yes, it says Altar. He said he will give patients the choice of where to get their treatment.
(The Department of Health and Social Care has more details on this announcement here.)
He said people can use the NHS app that people use during Covid to find hospitals where they can be treated quickly.
Later this year it will be extended to people already on waiting lists, he said.
He said he has “practically” eliminated the number of people who wait a year and a half for an operation. He said he wanted to stop waiting so long this spring. That is “almost done”, he said.
(However, technically, he missed his target.)
Sunak says he didn’t let Suella Braverman ‘off the hook’
Altar was asked today about Suella Braverman.
He said: “I didn’t let him down.”
Alison Hammond, the presenter, says it would be good if Suella Braverman did a group speed awareness course. That would show that the law applies to politicians, he said. He says he’s done two – and people have been taking selfies with him during them.
Altar emphasized that, in the end, Braverman did not take a private course on speed awareness.
He defended how he handled the issue. He got the facts, and made a decision. He dealt with it “professionally”, he said.