The Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP, said that the coalition government’s proposed cap on immigration from non-EU countries is akin to placing “restrictions on friendly countries like India” and cautioned that it might become a major bilateral issue when Prime Minister David Cameron visits New Delhi later this month.
“The cap on non-EU migrants will place restrictions on friendly countries like India. What happens if India reciprocates by placing a cap on British companies entering India?” he asked, saying the immigration cap should pass the scrutiny of Parliament before it is brought into force.
To this end, the select committee will begin consultations on the cap from Tuesday, he said.
It is still not clear whether Cameron is taking his Home Secretary along during his visit to India. However, Vaz said that the cap issue is bound to become “an important bilateral issue” during Cameron’s visit.
The interim cap starting on 19 July precedes a permanent cap from 2011. Home Secretary Theresa May has launched a 12-week consultation process on the format of the cap.
Vaz said the government had in the past lost its case related to non-EU immigration thrice in courts. “It is likely to happen again unless parliament’s views are taken into account this time,” he said.
The select committee chairman wants every party concerned with the immigration cap to come forward with its opinions and evidence.
Considering the fact that a substantial number of people affected by the cap would be Indians, he said: “Indian companies and investors should particularly come forward with their views.”
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