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Immigration control MPs to study Australian points system

Published 05/09/2016

A group of MPs chaired by Chuka Umunna will meet immigration experts
A group of MPs chaired by Chuka Umunna will meet immigration experts

MPs will seek to learn lessons from Australia's points-based immigration system as they look to draw up recommendations for post-Brexit British border control.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, chaired by Labour former frontbencher Chuka Umunna, will meet immigration experts on Monday as part of its inquiry into integration in the UK after the EU referendum.

It will hear evidence from Alexander Downer AC, the High Commissioner of Australia to the UK, on the merits of his country's immigration system. Leave campaigners suggested in the run-up to the referendum on June 23 that Britain could seek to imitate the Australian system.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Umunna said: "Politicians from all sides have to accept that the British people, in the main, have rejected freedom of movement.

"Some Remain voters were no great fans of free movement either but felt risking access to the single market in order to avoid it was not worth the damage to our economy.

"So, Brexit is an opportunity to redesign our immigration system and make it into one that both works and reflects people's concerns.

"This new system needs to support both existing communities and newcomers to manage changes that come from extra pressure on our schools, hospitals and public services."

Mr Umunna has called on the Government to bring forward plans to create an infrastructure investment fund to help mitigate the impact of immigration.

Mr Downer said: "For Australia, migration is the key to building our economy, shaping society, supporting the labour market, reuniting families and providing protection in accordance with international protection obligations.

"We are immensely proud of the contribution of migrants to Australian society and culture. Today, almost half of all Australians were born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas.

"Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are as a nation."

Other speakers due to address the group include Elizabeth Collett, director of Migration Policy Institute Europe, and Peter Bedford, the leader of Boston Borough Council.

Boston recorded the highest Leave vote in the UK at the referendum, with 75.6% of people backing Brexit.

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