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Written Question
Visas: British National (Overseas)
22 Dec 2021

Questioner: Marquess of Lothian (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people from Hong Kong have (1) applied to relocate to the UK under the British Nationals (Overseas) (BNO) visa scheme since January, and (2) arrived in the UK under the BNO visa scheme since January; and what steps they have taken to help such people settle within local communities.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

(1) The Home Office publishes data on visas and the British National Overseas (BN(O)) route in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ which can be found on Gov.uk The data relates to the first three quarters of 2021, January to September, and are derived from management information. These statistics include data on main applicants and dependants and some data are rounded to the nearest hundred. Data for Q4 2021 will be published on 24 February 2022. (2) At present it is not possible from the data to say how many of those issued with a visa have arrived in the UK. (3) In April 2021, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched a new UK-wide Welcome Programme to support Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders with a package worth £43.1 million for this financial year.


Written Question
Rohingya: Refugees
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Naz Shah (LAB - Bradford West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assistance her Department is providing to Rohingya families who are settled in Bradford from the UN Gateway Protection Programme to reunite with extended dependants who are residing stateless in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Government already provides a safe and legal route to bring families together through its family reunion policy. This allows a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. Refugees may apply to sponsor family via this route free of charge.

Our policy makes clear there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances – including young adult sons or daughters who are dependent on family here and living in dangerous situations.

There are separate provisions in the Rules to allow extended family to sponsor children to come here where there are serious and compelling circumstances.

Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, the person requires long-term personal care which can only be provided by relatives in the UK.

Refugees who have since gained British citizenship may sponsor family under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.


Written Question
Visas: Dependants
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Rupa Huq (LAB - Ealing Central and Acton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people adult dependant visas were applied for in 2020; and how many applications for adult dependant visas were rejected in 2020.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Home Office continues to keep the Immigration Rules for adult dependent relatives under review and makes adjustments in light of feedback on their operation and impact. The adult dependent relative rules were reviewed in 2016 and the report of this review can be seen at:

Adult dependent relatives: review - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

However, our overall assessment is the rules represent a fair deal for the UK taxpayer and are helping to ensure public confidence in the immigration system by protecting our public services from the significant NHS and social care costs to which these cases can give rise.

Home Office Migration Statistics capture data on a number of Adult Dependent Relative routes, which are grouped together with other routes under Family: Other (for immediate settlement) in our published data. This includes the number of applications received, granted and refused. The statistics are published at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/962146/entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-dec-2020.xlsx

Not all Adult Dependent Relative applications are captured under the Adult Dependent Relative route and to capture accurate data would require a manual trawl of cases; to do so would incur disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Visas: Dependants
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Rupa Huq (LAB - Ealing Central and Acton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of reviewing Adult Dependent Relative rules.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Home Office continues to keep the Immigration Rules for adult dependent relatives under review and makes adjustments in light of feedback on their operation and impact. The adult dependent relative rules were reviewed in 2016 and the report of this review can be seen at:

Adult dependent relatives: review - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

However, our overall assessment is the rules represent a fair deal for the UK taxpayer and are helping to ensure public confidence in the immigration system by protecting our public services from the significant NHS and social care costs to which these cases can give rise.

Home Office Migration Statistics capture data on a number of Adult Dependent Relative routes, which are grouped together with other routes under Family: Other (for immediate settlement) in our published data. This includes the number of applications received, granted and refused. The statistics are published at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/962146/entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-dec-2020.xlsx

Not all Adult Dependent Relative applications are captured under the Adult Dependent Relative route and to capture accurate data would require a manual trawl of cases; to do so would incur disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Carers: Migrant Workers
26 Oct 2021

Questioner: Daisy Cooper (LDEM - St Albans)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to treat disabled people who employ live-in carers as approved employers for the purposes of visa sponsorship, so they are able to accept applicants from the EU.

Answered by Kevin Foster

While senior care workers and senior support workers qualifyfor a Skilled Worker visa, they would need to be sponsored by an organisation which holds a Skilled Worker sponsor licence. The Skilled Worker Visa is not limited to EU Nationals, as it allows recruitment on a global basis.

Individual persons are not eligible to be recognised as sponsors. The sponsorship system is designed to ensure employers fulfil specific duties to confirm those who apply for permission to enter or stay in the UK to work are eligible and will comply with the conditions of their visa.

Businesses are able to comply with these duties and demonstrate a verifiable track record of operating lawfully in the UK, both within the immigration system and the wider employer regulatory regime, in a way individuals cannot. This approach ensures the integrity of the immigration system and safeguards those who migrate to the UK.

Outside the Skilled Worker route, employers and individuals can recruit people with general work rights, including the millions of people who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, Commonwealth citizens with UK Ancestry visas, dependants of those here on our economic routes and those in the UK under our Youth Mobility Schemes. They have full access to the UK labour market and are free to work in the UK in any sector.

In July, I commissioned the MAC to review the impact of ending free movement on the social care sector. The MAC have issued a call for evidence with stakeholders and we look forward to receiving their report in April 2022.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
28 Sep 2021

Questioner: Layla Moran (LDEM - Oxford West and Abingdon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the shortage occupation list, what discussions she has had with stakeholders in the food and drink sector on labour shortages in the food supply chain; and what steps she is taking to resolve those shortages in the short term.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested.

Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed, rather than turning to the Home Office for immigration policy changes as an alternative to doing this. Employers with recruitment issues should therefore engage with the Department for Work and Pensions about the support they can provide in recruiting from the UK Labour Market,

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met. An occupation does not need to be on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Hospitality Industry
28 Sep 2021

Questioner: Layla Moran (LDEM - Oxford West and Abingdon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of introducing a covid recovery visa for the hospitality sector.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested.

Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed, rather than turning to the Home Office for immigration policy changes as an alternative to doing this. Employers with recruitment issues should therefore engage with the Department for Work and Pensions about the support they can provide in recruiting from the UK Labour Market,

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met. An occupation does not need to be on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Food: Vacancies
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will meet with representatives of the food and drink sector to discuss how labour shortages in that sector can be tackled through her Department's policies.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase access to labour to support the UK food and drink distribution sector.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential merits of introducing a visa scheme for food and drink workers to support covid-19 economic recovery.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Chevening Scholarships Programme
24 Sep 2021

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan to Afghan Chevening scholars; and what his Department's policy is on the level of priority Afghan Chevening scholars have for UK Government support.

Answered by Amanda Milling

Between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 15,000 people from Afghanistan. That includes: over 8,000 British Nationals, close to 5,000 Afghans who loyally served the UK, along with their dependents, and around 500 special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans, including Chevening scholars, journalists, human rights defenders, campaigners for women's rights, judges and many others. All these figures include dependants.

All offers made to Afghan Chevening scholars for 2021-22 are valid. We successfully evacuated the majority of Afghan Chevening scholars in this year's cohort and will continue to do all we can to support the small number who remain in Afghanistan. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost.

The Chevening Secretariat is in touch with all Afghan Chevening scholars and their families, and is liaising with universities, local authorities and the Home Office to help scholars access support in the UK. Afghan scholars and their families who travelled in evacuation flights have automatically been granted an initial 6 months leave to remain in the UK. This means that those scholars and their dependents can work, study, receive healthcare and apply for support with accommodation and living costs. The Home Office is offering all Afghan arrivals bridging accommodation, if they have not yet been able to identify permanent accommodation. Scholars entering from third countries will come on student visas.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Chevening Scholarships Programme
24 Sep 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many (a) former and (b) current Afghan Chevening Scholars have entry clearance to arrive in the UK; how many of those scholars have arrived since April 2021 under (i) the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or (ii) another entry policy; if he will provide details of all entry policies through which former and current Chevening Scholars can arrive in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Amanda Milling

Between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 15,000 people from Afghanistan. Approximately 500 of these are special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans, including Chevening scholars, journalists, human rights defenders, campaigners for women's rights, judges and many others. All these figures include dependants.

All offers made to Afghan Chevening scholars for 2021-22 are valid. We successfully evacuated the majority of Afghan Chevening scholars in this year's cohort and will continue to do all we can to support the small number who remain in Afghanistan. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage out of Afghanistan and any engagement with the Taliban will emphasise this first and foremost.

The Chevening Secretariat is in touch with all Afghan Chevening scholars and their families, and is liaising with universities, local authorities and the Home Office to help scholars access support in the UK. Afghan scholars and their families who travelled in evacuation flights have automatically been granted an initial 6 months leave to remain in the UK. This means that those scholars and their dependents can work, study, receive healthcare and apply for support with accommodation and living costs. The Home Office is offering all Afghan arrivals bridging accommodation, if they have not yet been able to identify permanent accommodation. Scholars entering from third countries will come on student visas.


Written Question
Immigration: Hong Kong
20 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Green of Deddington (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many British National (Overseas) visas have been granted, including to dependants, since 31 January, (2) how many individuals have been granted leave outside the Immigration Rules at the UK border since 1 January, and (3) how many British National (Overseas) passports issued each month since January.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

(1),(2)

The Home Office publishes data on visas and the British National Overseas (BN(O)) route in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

The data relates to the first and second quarter of 2021, January to June, and are derived from management information. These statistics include data on main applicants and dependants and are rounded to the nearest hundred. Data for Q3 2021 will be published on 25 November 2021.

(3)

The table below provides the number of British National (Overseas) passports issued to customers each month since January 2021. *

Month

BNO Passports Issued

January

13,315

February

8,217

March

7,032

April

4,747

May

4,192

June

3,141

July

2,728

August

5,613

*These figures are correct at the time of reporting and subject to change.


Written Question
Migrant Workers
17 Sep 2021

Questioner: Daisy Cooper (LDEM - St Albans)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations of the Grant Thornton Report on Labour Availability to (a) introduce a 12 month covid-19 recovery visa to enable supply chains to recruit critical roles and (b) commit to a permanent, revised and expanded Seasonal Worker Scheme for UK horticulture.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) found some roles in the food production, supply and agricultural sectors meet the RQF3 skills threshold for the Skilled Worker route so are eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa, whereas others do not. The threshold was previously set at degree-level jobs. Modelling by the MAC suggests the new, broader RQF3 threshold strikes a reasonable balance between controlling immigration and business access to labour.

The Government position therefore remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed. We will continue to monitor the labour needs of other sectors and the Government agreed with the Migration Advisory Committee to have a more regular pattern of minor and major reviews of the Shortage Occupation List, with the first major review taking place no earlier than 2023.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through other routes, such as our family visa ones, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available (which, as yet, have not all been taken up). Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, however, there are no plans to expand the pilot further


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Virginia Crosbie (CON - Ynys Môn)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the (a) potential merits of including (i) butchers, (ii) poultry technicians and (iii) other food production workers on the shortage occupation list to ensure food supplies are maintained, (b) potential merits of introducing a temporary suspension or moratorium on the restriction of freedom of movement for food production workers and (c) applicability of the points based immigration system to food production workers; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of expanding the seasonal worker scheme to include migrant labour in food production to support the meat processing industry.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) found some roles in the food production, supply and agricultural sectors, such as Butchers, meet the RQF3 skills threshold for the Skilled Worker route so are eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa, whereas others do not. The threshold was previously set at degree-level jobs. Modelling by the MAC suggests the new, broader skills threshold of RQF3 (A-level or equivalent) strikes a reasonable balance between controlling immigration and providing business access to skills on as global basis.

The Government believes it is important to monitor the impact of the new Skilled Worker route, as well as how the economy recovers post-Covid 19, before making any wide-scale changes. Jobs do not need to be on the Shortage Occupation List to recruited via the Skilled Worker route, but the relevant skill and salary thresholds must be met to qualify.

The Seasonal Workers Pilot will continue to operate specifically in the edible horticulture sector, to help farmers growing UK fruit and vegetables and ensure our nation’s food security.

We will continue to monitor the labour needs of other sectors, however, specific work visas should not be seen as the only option for additional recruitment as immigration must be considered alongside our policies for the UK Labour market, not as an alternative to them.

Therefore business with recruitment issues should, in the first instance, engage with the Department for Work and Pensions about the support they can offer in recruiting from the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, those who hold status under the Eu Settlement Scheme, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, and those who arrive through other routes, such as our family and humanitarian protection ones, who all have access to the UK labour market.