Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:53 pm on 28th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development) 6:53 pm, 28th January 2019

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, on which I am about to expand. Staff shortages in our NHS and care sector will leave our loved ones waiting longer in hospital corridors to see a nurse. As my hon. Friend has just pointed out, we must ensure that we have nurses and care workers. We must ensure that our NHS and our care sector have the people that they need with the right level of skills. That is why I cannot support the Bill on Second Reading. Does the Secretary of State agree that equating pay and skill undermines the desire for an immigration system that, to quote the Prime Minister’s foreword to the December White Paper,

“welcomes talent, hard work, and the skills we need”?

The second concern I wish to raise is about indefinite detention. As it stands, there are no limits on the length of time a person can be held in immigration detention in the United Kingdom. Anyone who has met those who have faced indefinite detention will know the pain and harm it causes. With the Bill potentially expanding the number of EEA nationals liable for detention, will the Government listen to the range of voices asking for an end to indefinite detention?

Finally, on the social security element of the Bill and the immigration White Paper, the latter proposes a more restrictive system for EU citizens’ entitlements, including longer waiting times before entitlement, so what guarantees will the Secretary of State give to protect EU citizens? With the EU likely to reciprocate any new restrictions on social security entitlement, what does he say to the more than 1 million UK citizens living in the EU who will have to face confines, or even become ineligible?

We in this House have a tendency to view issues as intrinsically good or bad, so I call on Members from all parties to reflect on a vital section of the MAC report that says that

“the impacts of migration often depend on other government policies and should not be seen in isolation from the wider context.”

I hope the Government heed that advice.