This had its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 February, with forty separate speeches. It had earlier passed through the House of Commons with relatively few changes.
I can understand the Government’s wish to reduce net immigration, with unemployment high, economic recovery just starting, and total population growing steadily.
Speakers from universities and higher education argued the importance of increasing the number of foreign students. This produces valuable income and generates worldwide goodwill for Britain. Students should be removed from the immigration figures.
I and many others claimed that the Bill asserted the Government’s tough stance, without improving ways in which it deals with thousands of individual cases. We have a backlog of over 30,000 asylum applications. Well over 100,000 children are “undocumented”, ie they have no official status here, and may be liable to deportation. This is bad for them, and for the country.
Six days have been allotted for line by line examination in Committee. I trust these will lead to some real improvement.