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Robert Jenrick says Government is looking to change rules on foreign students to reduce number of people coming to UK
IMMIGRATION Minister Robert Jenrick has admitted that the immigration crisis is likely to continue “for many years to come”.
He told GB News that the Government is considering introducing new laws: “Suella Braverman and myself are working through what that legislation might look like. We're constantly speaking to the Prime Minister.
“We think that this is a problem that could be with us for many years to come.
“Mass migration is going to be one of the stories of the 21st century and so we have to recreate our immigration system so that it's fit for purpose, that will mean creating a system where deterrence is suffused through the whole thing.
“And to me that means that you should not get a route to life in the UK. If you come here illegally. There will be policies like Rwanda at the heart of it and I hope that we can enact that as soon as it gets through the British courts.
“It will also mean looking at how we treat people on arrival, so that nobody thinks that coming to the UK as a soft touch, and the UK is not a better site for asylum shoppers than our EU neighbour.”
In an interview with Esther McVey and Philip Davies, Mr Jenrick said the Government was looking at changing rules that allow foreign students to bring their families to the UK.
“We've got very liberal rules on students bringing their family members with them and that is something that we are interested in reviewing,” he said.
“It's right that if you came here to do a PhD, and we're staying in the UK for a long time that you might be able to bring your spouse with you, but the figures that you just quoted and the ones that I've seen in the last few weeks in this job suggests that the problem is much bigger than that.
“And what I'm concerned about is there are people coming to universities here as a backdoor way of bringing their families into the UK and staying here for a prolonged period. Because although the majority of students do leave the country at the end of their studies, 40 per cent don't.
“A very significant number of people use this as a route to a life in the UK. This is a big driver of net migration.
"We can all see there might be some benefits to the economy and to society but I start from the point that we're a relatively small country, there is a lack of housing, public services are under considerable strain at the moment.
“We can't have a million people entering the country in a single year and net migration of half a million - it's just not sustainable.”
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He added: “Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister and Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, and I are reviewing this. We've only been in our jobs for four weeks, and we haven't come to firm conclusions. But I think all three of us are agreed that net migration of 500,000 is wrong.
“That is unsustainable, and we have to work together to bring it down. And some of the areas that are ripe for reform include looking at the number of students coming into the UK and how easy it is for them to bring dependents here.
“You do have to remember when you look at the stats, that half of those people are on humanitarian visas and so there were almost 250,000 people entering the UK last year from a combination of Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, and also the Hong Kong scheme. Broadly, that's a good thing.
“But you’ve got to know when you make those big, bold, compassionate steps, it has consequences, and that is the largest number of people entering the UK in a single year since the Second World War.”
On the asylum system: “We do need to get this backlog down. We now have a huge backlog of asylum cases that built up over the pandemic, for reasons that it's hard to explain. I think it's a combination of poor management and very low productivity in the Home Office.
“We've got to tackle that, we've gone from having a Home Office decision-making making four or five decisions per person per week to one we're going to be recruiting more people getting better management in.
“We're not going to do an amnesty. We're not going to compromise on security, or all the things that the British public would expect.
“There are some countries where we have extremely high grant rates and so it would be sensible to say that they have perhaps a lighter touch process than those where it's highly likely that they'll be rejected, because we've got to get the backlog down.”
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