Immigration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 1:39 pm, 26th June 2019

I will take the hon. Gentleman back to the responses from Scotland to the consultation undertaken by the committee, which has held events in every region and every nation of the United Kingdom. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman does not like the fact that the Migration Advisory Committee is made up of the most eminent experts there are in the country, but he will be aware that when we recruit to a vacant position on the MAC, which happens every few years, we are of course open to applications from every part of the United Kingdom, including Scotland.

The UK’s measures on access to work, benefits and services have been in place and developed over many years of varying and successive Governments, and are consistent with the legislative frameworks operated by most other comparable countries. Opposition Members should be reminded that other EU member states are subject to an EU directive requiring them to have in place right to work checks and sanctions for employers of illegal workers, to protect potential victims of modern slavery.

Measures to restrict access to benefits and services are also designed to protect the taxpayer—a legitimate objective that has public support. A YouGov poll last year found that 71% of people support a policy of requiring people to show documents proving their right to be here in order to do things such as taking up employment, renting a flat or opening a bank account. Measures on the right to work and the right to rent are about tackling unscrupulous employers and landlords to protect the vulnerable, while also protecting good employers and landlords. That is in the interests of a prosperous and fair society that supports those who play by the rules, as well as protecting those who might otherwise be exploited. However, we are clear that these measures must distinguish effectively between those with lawful status, who are entitled to access work, benefits and services in the UK, and those who are here illegally. The Home Office is committed to improving how we meet the differing needs of the public we serve.