THE Government Minister responsible for immigration has praised the work being done on community cohesion in Pendle after a visit to the area.

Mark Harper was invited to the North by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson to see first hand some of the immigration cases and issues in the constituency.

They met with the Pendle Enterprise and Empowerment Forum in Brierfield, took questions from public services students at Nelson and Colne College then listened to an immigration surgery at Carter Law, in Brierfield. Mr Harper said: “I was very impressed by the meeting we had with the enterprise and empowerment forum.

“There were some concerns raised about some of our policy decisions, the income limit for example, the threshold people have to meet before they can bring a family member in from overseas, (individuals need to earn £18,500) which does bite locally.

“I was able to explain the reason for the policy, to make sure people can support their family members rather than the taxpayers having to do so.

“I was very impressed by the work they do on community cohesion and some of the training, the work they do to improve skill levels.”

He also praised the partnership between Carter Law and Mr Stephenson.

“Working with this law firm and having a joint approach where Andrew can listen and take up some of the cases with the Home Office is good,” he said.

“You’ve also got experienced legal advisers here who can help people navigate through the rules, so it’s a really good partnership and delivers a good service for people.”

Mr Harper also said that concerns about waves of Romanians and Bulgarians coming into the country this month after immigration rules were relaxed had not materialised.