Thursday, April 18, 2024

Metcalfe quizzes Home Secretary on immigration figures

STEPHEN Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, called on the Home Secretary to make a statement about the levels of EU and non-EU migration yesterday in the House of Commons.

The question came soon after the latest release of statistics which show that Government measures have, since 2010, reduced net migration from outside the EU by more than third; cut the number of family visas granted by 37%; and cut the number of student visas granted to non-EU students by almost a third. In addition, more than three quarters of the growth in employment has been accounted for by British citizens.

The Minister for Security and Immigration said: “Our reforms have cut non-EU migration to its lowest level since 1998 and there are now 82,000 fewer non-EU nationals arriving annually than when this Government came to power. Net migration of EU nationals and their family members, who are not subject to formal immigration controls, has doubled over the last year. Across Government, we are working hard to address the factors that draw people to Britain for the wrong reasons.

Whilst non-EU migration has fallen, there is still much concern about EU migration. Mr Metcalfe therefore asked the Minister to comment on remarks made by the German Chancellor Angel Merkel that ‘freedom of movement’ shouldn’t mean ‘freedom to claim’ and that the only the Prime Minister’s plan to reform the EU can deliver this.

The Minister agreed, saying: “I agree with what my hon. Friend has said. Freedom of movement is not and cannot be a freedom to claim benefits. The Government have introduced a series of domestic measures to restrict access to benefits and we are committed to working with our partners to reform the rules on access to benefits, which were designed for a different era and are no longer fit for purpose.outlining the importance of the Prime Ministers negotiations and also highlighting measures the Government have already taken to curb the number of EU migrants claiming benefits.”

These measures include the introduction of new powers to limit access to benefits for new jobseekers, some of tightest controls on access to the NHS and social housing in Europe, and new powers to tackle fraud and abuse.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am pleased to see non-EU migration falling. The Government’s reforms are clearly paying off and anticipate that these figures will continue to fall.”

“The Government currently has less control over EU migration but are working hard to ensure that once in the country migrants cannot abuse our welfare system. The Prime Minister is the only party leader with a clear plan for tackling this issue even further and I trust that he will go to EU and fight to give Britain more control over its borders.”

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