Keith Vaz has been elected to be the head of a new parliamentary committee on visas and immigration. The veteran MP who has served in the House of Commons for over 30 years said "As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, issues of immigration come to the fore. The Home Office's still suffering from a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases. In addition, there are thousands of Indian-origin citizens who are now Portuguese citizens and residents of the UK who need urgent clarification of that status.
The MP has Indian heritage and is a big supporter of Indian immigration to the UK. He has voiced concern over the current visa system and insisted that the UK need to "get a grip" on it. He's also voiced concern over a drop in visa applications from Indian students. He intends to investigate this as part of his new remit.
Changes in immigration and visas are a big concern going forward in the UK. The government is attempting to reduce immigration figures but has come under increasing pressure from the international community. One of the biggest hurdles after Brexit in 2019, will be the UK trying to tie up trade deals. One of the biggest ones will be with India as the countries have a long history of trade. But the Indian's may, just as Australia already have, insist on a preferential system for their citizens to enter the UK. This could make the visa situation significantly more complicated. If there are different rules for different countries then an administrative nightmare is surely on the cards.
Mr Vaz has significant support in the House of Commons and is a very well regarded MP. But he will have a fight on his hands trying to turn the government towards being more open-minded on the subject of immigration. The Prime Minister Theresa May has set the country on an alternate track with regards to immigration. This is much to the contradiction of much of the advice the government has received on the subject. Indeed in recent days, Germany has released figures showing that immigration has helped to boost the amount of tax collected in the country.
Whether Mr Vaz will be successful is likely to hinge on the support he garners. Cross party consensus is hard to come by, especially on such complicated issues. Immigration is a hot topic in the UK and it seems to heavily divide opinion. But Mr Vaz is experienced, and a superb supporter of such rights and is likely to be one of the few politicians capable of guiding such a committee. Though it seems he really does have an extremely tough job on his hands. So far in her premiership, Mrs May has not been keen to seek outside counsel, indeed her own MP's have lined up in the past to vent their frustration at not having an opportunity to try and inform her thinking. But with a disastrous campaign behind her, the beleaguered Prime Minister may have no choice but to start listening to alternate ideas.
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