Sir Paul Beresford MP has called on the government to allow parliamentary time for a debate on the Commonwealth, focusing on immigration.
He asked the Leader of the House Chris Grayling the following question:
Sir Paul: Will my right hon. Friend persuade the Government to have a debate on the UK’s relationship with the Commonwealth, particularly the old Commonwealth? I have just returned from visiting New Zealand. It is definitely there and I am very conscious that, in our drive to reduce immigration, the UK is losing out on highly educated English-speaking people, generally graduates, who have very much to offer this nation in health, education, agriculture, banking, research, the armed forces and—dare I say it?—even rugby. There are kith and kin issues with such nations. They have stood with us—and they continue to stand with us today—in major and less major wars. We need to recognise that.
The somewhat disappointing answer was:
Chris Grayling: Of course, we try to maintain a sensible balance in our immigration system. It is necessary, right and proper to have controls. At the same time, we have routes for experienced people to come to this country and work. Many from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Commonwealth have done so over many years. I am sure that Home Office Ministers will have heard my hon. Friend’s comments and that they will do their best to take as pragmatic an approach as they can, but he will understand that there have to be limitations—our electors expect it.
Unfortunately the government is still failing to recognise the damaging impact that our immigration rules are having on those from the Commonwealth seeking to live, work, and contribute in the UK.
We highlighted some of these issues and made 6 pragmatic proposals for improving the situation in our report "How to Solve a Problem Like a Visa." We encourage the government to implement these proposals as soon as possible.