Re: restrictii de munca pt romani- ministrul Imigrarii redau mai jos raspunsul dat de Liam Byrne ministrul imigrarii de la Home Office cu privire la cererea adresata de Greg Hands MP de a ridica restrictiile de munca pt romani: 4.21 pm The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. Liam Byrne): I do not believe that I have served under your chairmanship before, Mr. Cook, and it is a privilege to do so this afternoon. I congratulate the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) on securing this important debate. It appears that we have one thing in common: we both began our illustrious careers in McDonald’s, although I did not have the chance to work anywhere as glamorous as West Berlin, so my experience has not been quite as wide as his. I genuinely welcome the Conservatives back to the debate on immigration. They have been quieter during the past 12 months. I had not realised that the hon. Gentleman was a revolutionary; I hope that in the not-too-distant future he will bring a bit of that experience to his Front Bench. I should like to start with two points of context before trying to answer some of the hon. Gentleman’s specific questions. My first point is that last July, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary launched the immigration service on the biggest and most radical shake-up in its history. On 2 April this year, the border and immigration agency started work as an arm’s length organisation. Subject to parliamentary approval of the UK Borders Bill, in the months to come we shall have a more powerful inspectorate to cast some transparency on an organisation that has been too dark and hard to see into. New regions will provide a much closer interface with local communities and their immigration priorities. The issue is not all about immigration policing. There will be communities that say to us, “Look, we need a bit of help with changing the kind of migrants that are working in our economy.” I visited Newcastle at the end of last year and was struck when Liberal Democrat local authority leaders and others told me that they wanted to grow the population of Newcastle by 8 per cent. in the next few years and that they could not do that by encouraging the good citizens of that city to breed faster. They need migrants to help fill some of the skills gaps in their economy. I hope that in future years, the border and immigration agency will be able to work much more closely with local communities to plan for such changes. We are also undertaking a number of important reforms to how immigration policing is effected in this country. We have set out plans to establish a second offshore border control, and we are harnessing new technologies, some of which the Conservatives have not yet signed up to. I was struck by the hon. Gentleman’s story about the woman asked to produce 16 or 17 different documents—I am not sure whether she was his constituent. When we introduce biometric ID cards, that process will get slightly easier. We had to consider a decision about the work rights of Bulgaria and Romania against that general reform of the immigration system. Of course, we considered the experience of A8 migration. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right; in 2004, when 10 countries joined the European Union, we gave their people access to our labour market. Our evidence is that the decision was absolutely right. There have been calculations of the considerable impact and contribution that those migrants have made to our economy and society. Research by the Department for Work and Pensions found that there was no evidence that jobs had been taken away from British workers. The hon. Gentleman’s second question was important—he asked why we were not simply rolling forward the rules that we put in place for the A8 so that they apply to people from Bulgaria and Romania. The answer is simple—I thought that we set out our rationale and logic clearly at the time—and I shall repeat it. In some parts of the country, there was still evidence of transitional impacts caused by changing levels of migration. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson), who is with us in the Chamber, has talked about that in the main Chamber and in the Committee considering the UK Borders Bill. Last week, I talked about some of the changes that I had seen in schools in my constituency, and other hon. Members have discussed changes and pressures that they have seen in the health service. Against that background, we are witnessing evidence of admittedly isolated impacts on public services. It was sensible for us to wait a little longer to understand the overall impact. Our determination to put things on a more rational basis is best expressed in our recent decision to put immigration decisions as a whole on a far more open and transparent basis. That is why just before Easter, I said that we would set up a migration advisory committee to advise on where in the economy the UK needs migration and where it does not. Alongside that, I added that we would set up a migrations impact forum to ensure that the Government as a whole were taking into account the wider social impacts of migration in making decisions Mr. Hands: I do not think that the Minister’s answer to my question makes sense. On the one hand, he says that it is important to continue assessing the impact of the A8 migration, which started three years ago, yet on the other, the Home Secretary has declared it an unqualified success. Surely one cannot continue assessing something while declaring it a success. Will the Minister say how he thinks Bulgarian and Romanian nationals feel, given that the A8 migration has been declared a success but the jury is still out on them? Mr. Byrne: The success that we have seen from A8 migration has largely been centred in the economy. However, there is evidence of specific, isolated pressures on public services. My argument has been that some such pressures have been experienced in some of the poorer communities in this country and that it is incumbent on a Government who believe in social progress and in strengthening and raising the safety net to understand those pressures before we take any more big steps in migration policy. The hon. Gentleman asked for data on the number of A2 migrants coming to this country, and they will be available on 22 May, when they will be published alongside Office for National Statistics data on a range of other migration matters. That will be the starting point for a debate that we should have in this House and elsewhere. As the hon. Gentleman has said, we have committed to undertake a review of the decision within 12 months of its coming into effect. I confirm that although, under the derogation to the accession treaty, we have the right to maintain restrictions until the end of 2011, we will undertake that review within those 12 months. I hope that we will be helped in that debate by the migration advisory committee. It is important that this country finds a way of having a rational, logical, open and transparent debate about what has historically been a very sensitive area. If we were able to establish that independent committee with the legitimacy and expertise that I am hoping for, that will make a considerable contribution to getting the right answer when the review is undertaken. We are in constant discussion with our EU partners about the restrictions that they are imposing. I want to take issue with one point that the hon. Gentleman made. He said that somehow the decision was unilaterally taken by the UK. That was, of course, not the case. France, Germany, Spain and Austria—a number of what are sometimes called old European economies—took exactly the same kind of decision as we did, and many of them rolled forward the restrictions imposed on the A8. I do not think that the Bulgarians and Romanians are feeling bad because of decisions that we took. Actually, our decisions were very much in line with those of the rest of Europe. Mr. Hands: Countries such as Germany and Austria realised their mistake and changed their minds quickly after 1 May 2004, precisely because they could see that the system, as it was introduced, made no sense. Surely it is time for this Government to change their mind. Mr. Byrne: I do not accept that. When we consider the decisions that other great European economies made on A2, we see that their decisions were very much in line with our own. I am about to run out of time and I believe that you are about to call me to order, Mr. Cook, so I shall undertake to write to the hon. Gentleman to answer his particular points about information. The decision was a measured one and, I think, the right one.