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Written Question
Social Services: Vacancies
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Barbara Keeley (LAB - Worsley and Eccles South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will add social care workers to the shortage occupation list in response to workforce shortages across the care sector.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Several occupations within the social care sector are currently on the shortage occupation list including senior care workers.

The introduction of the Health and Care visa in August 2020 made it quicker and easier for regulated health and care professionals – including Senior Care Workers - and their dependants to secure their visa.

We have commissioned the MAC to look further at the issues surrounding the ending of free movement on the social care sector and we look forward to receiving their report next year.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing resident 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 full access to the UK labour market.

Our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work. The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, and improve terms and conditions, including ensuring care workers are offered the rewarding packages they deserve and which are common in other sectors, rather than turning to immigration policy for an alternative to doing so.


Written Question
Travel: Coronavirus
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: Kim Johnson (LAB - Liverpool, Riverside)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to add Hong Kong to the list of countries whose Pfizer BioNtech vaccination will be recognised by the Government for incoming travellers.

Answered by Maggie Throup

From 11 October, eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories including Hong Kong, will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated United Kingdom residents, if they have not visited a ‘red list’ country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England.


Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Aviation
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Zarah Sultana (LAB - Coventry South)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the aviation industry beyond September 2021.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was designed as a temporary economy-wide measure to support businesses while widespread restrictions were in place. After running for nineteen months, the scheme closed on 30 September 2021. To date, it has succeeded in supporting 11.7 million jobs across the UK, with employer claims totalling £69.3 billion.

As the economy has reopened, the jobs market has recovered, vacancies are at record highs and the success of the Government’s vaccine programme has allowed us to lift almost all restrictions. That is why it is right that the Government continues to wind down its temporary pandemic support, while continuing to support businesses to invest in the recovery and supporting people into new jobs.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances the aviation industry has faced as a result of Covid-19. The aviation and aerospace sectors are being supported with over £12 billion that has been made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), and grants for research and development.

Thanks to the rollout of the UK's vaccination programme, the Government has been able to relax the rules on our international travel programme. A new system for a safe and sustainable return to travel has been set out, which separates countries into a red list and the rest of the world. On Monday 11 October 2021, England's red list was reduced to just seven countries, with 47 countries coming off the red list.

From 24 October 2021, fully vaccinated passengers with an authorised vaccine and most under 18s arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test, on or before Day 2 of their arrival into the UK. They will not need to self-isolate or take a pre-departure or day eight test.

Eligible travellers vaccinated in over 100 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will not need to self-isolate, nor complete pre-departure testing and day eight testing requirements on arrival to the UK from non-red list countries and territories, like UK vaccinated adults. Anyone who tests positive will need to take a confirmatory PCR test which can be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

The Government is focused on fully reopening international travel as soon as it is safe to do so and will further review England's international travel policy in the new year.


Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Aviation
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Steve McCabe (LAB - Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the impact of ending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the aviation industry.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was designed as a temporary, economy-wide measure to support businesses while widespread restrictions were in place. The scheme closed at the end of September, striking the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.  This approach has worked; the OBR have estimated that without the short-term fiscal easing announced in the Budget, and in particular the CJRS extension, unemployment would have otherwise been around 300,000 higher in the fourth quarter of this year than the 2.2 million in the central forecast.

Furthermore England has relaxed the rules on international travel, which will support the recovery of the aviation industry. A new system for a safe and sustainable return to travel has been set out, which separates countries into a red list and rest of world. As of Monday 11 October, England’s red list was reduced to just 7 countries, with 47 countries coming off the red list. Passengers fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine arriving in England from non-red countries or territories will only need to take a day two test and will not need to self-isolate or take a pre-departure or day eight test. From 24 October fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test, on or before Day 2 of their arrival into the UK. Anyone who tests positive will need to take a confirmatory PCR test which can be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

Eligible travellers vaccinated in over 100 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey can avoid self-isolation, pre-departure testing and day eight testing requirements on arrival to the UK from non-red countries and territories, like UK vaccinated adults.

The Government recognises the particular challenges the aviation industry has faced as a result of Covid-19. The aviation and aerospace sectors are being supported with over £12 billion that has been made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and grants for research and development.

The Government has shown throughout the pandemic that it is prepared to adapt support if the path of the virus changes. We continue to engage closely with sectors across the economy, including the aviation, travel and tourism industries, to understand their recovery horizons as the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions ease.


Written Question
Visas: British National (Overseas)
18 Oct 2021

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

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of British National (Overseas) visa applications that (a) have been put on hold and (b) are on hold because there is an adult dependant relative linked to the application as at 22 September 2021.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) route is for those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members including adult children who were born after 1 July 1997 and who live with their parents. Applications made to this route are considered on their own individual facts and are progressed to conclusion as swiftly as possible.

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

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

Where a BN(O) Visas application is supported by sufficient evidence to demonstrate they and, where applicable, any family members who are applying with the BN(O) status holder, are eligible for a BNO Visa, under the terms of Appendix HK to the Immigration Rules, the application will be concluded.

However, if insufficient evidence or information to support their application is provided and further information is required, UK Visas & Immigration will contact the applicant(s), providing an opportunity to supply further evidence or information for assessment, before a decision is taken on their application.


Written Question
Visas: British National (Overseas)
18 Oct 2021

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

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number and proportion of applications for BNO Visas made by Adult Dependant Relatives of a BNO status holder that (a) have been put on hold to date and (b) are currently on hold.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) route is for those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members including adult children who were born after 1 July 1997 and who live with their parents. Applications made to this route are considered on their own individual facts and are progressed to conclusion as swiftly as possible.

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

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

Where a BN(O) Visas application is supported by sufficient evidence to demonstrate they and, where applicable, any family members who are applying with the BN(O) status holder, are eligible for a BNO Visa, under the terms of Appendix HK to the Immigration Rules, the application will be concluded.

However, if insufficient evidence or information to support their application is provided and further information is required, UK Visas & Immigration will contact the applicant(s), providing an opportunity to supply further evidence or information for assessment, before a decision is taken on their application.


Written Question
Extradition: Hong Kong
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Stephen Kinnock (LAB - Aberavon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many extradition requests have been (a) made by Hong Kong to the UK and (b) agreed by the UK government since January 2017.

Answered by Damian Hinds

We can confirm that there have been no extraditions from the UK to Hong Kong since January 2017.

As a matter of long-standing policy and practice, we do not disclose whether an extradition request has been made or received until such time as a person is arrested in relation to the request. Therefore, we cannot provide the number of extradition requests made by Hong Kong to the UK since January 2017.


Written Question
Uighurs: Hong Kong
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Stephen Kinnock (LAB - Aberavon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many extradition requests have been (a) made from Hong Kong and (b) agreed to on the extradition a Uyghur person from the UK since January 2017.

Answered by Damian Hinds

We can confirm that there have been no extraditions from the UK to Hong Kong since January 2017.

As a matter of long-standing policy and practice, we do not disclose whether an extradition request has been made or received until such time as a person is arrested in relation to the request. Therefore, we cannot provide the number of extradition requests made by Hong Kong to the UK since January 2017.


Written Question
British National (Overseas): Pensions Funds
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Sarah Olney (LDEM - Richmond Park)

Question

If she will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to support people with British National (Overseas) visas who are facing difficulties in applying for early withdrawal of their provident funds.

Answered by Priti Patel

Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority is unfairly disrupting people’s livelihoods by refusing to accept the British National(Overseas) visa when Hong Kongers apply for early withdrawal. This is preventing them from accessing funds they are entitled to.

The Government has expressed concern to the relevant Hong Kong authorities and calls on them to resolve this issue.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
11 Oct 2021

Questioner: Adam Holloway (CON - Gravesham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the food and drink sector's proposal for a covid recovery visa scheme.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Points Based System already provides for a range of roles in the food and drink sector, including roles such as Butchers, subject to the rules and requirements of the system being met, including on salary.

Beyond the Points Based Systems, employers can recruit those with general work rights including the millions of people who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, those who have arrived via our settlement route for British National (Overseas) normally resident in Hong Kong and their households, those who have arrived via a family visa 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 and can undertake any role.

But recognising the extraordinary circumstances facing businesses currently, Government is providing visas as a time-limited, temporary measure for the food sector until longer term measures to improve the supply of skills domestically. start to have an impact. This includes visas for up to:

• 4,700 HGV food drivers who will be able to arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022 and;

• 5,500 poultry workers will arrive from late October and stay up until 31 December 2021.

However we must see long-term solutions delivered by employers through improved testing and hiring, with better pay and working conditions, as immigration routes do not provide a guarantee of being able to recruit in a competitive global market for skilled workers.


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
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
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.