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Immigration Bill

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:06 pm on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:06 pm, 13th October 2015

I am sure that my hon. Friend will try to catch my eye later on. I will make a little more progress if I may.

I referred to our achievements and said that they were helping us to build an immigration system that is fairer, stronger and more effective, but if we are to ensure that we can protect our public services from abuse and that the system works in the national interest, and if we are to tackle the illegal labour market where vulnerable people are often exploited by unscrupulous employers and subjected to appalling conditions, then further reform is needed. The new Immigration Bill will help us to do that in a number of ways.

Part 1 is about tackling illegal working and preventing the exploitation of workers. The House will appreciate that illegal working is one of the principal pull factors for people coming to the UK to live and work illegally, but those who do so are particularly vulnerable and can find themselves living and working in dangerous and degrading conditions. The illegal labour market can also depress or hold back pay and conditions for the local sector, and undercut reputable businesses. Increasingly, we are seeing labour market exploitation becoming an organised criminal activity, and it is clear that Government regulators responsible for enforcing workers’ rights are in need of reform.

In June 2014, the independent Migration Advisory Committee called for better co-ordination between the various enforcement agencies so that employment rights can be enforced more effectively. Members of this House have pressed that issue on many occasions. In our election manifesto, we committed to introducing tougher labour market regulation to tackle illegal working and exploitation. This Bill will allow us to do that. It establishes a new statutory director of labour market enforcement who will be responsible for providing a central hub of intelligence and for facilitating the flexible allocation of resources across the different regulators. In addition, this morning we published a consultation on the future of labour market enforcement, and I will place a copy of it in the House Library.