I will not apologise, but I will point out that the Conservative party has been in power for 10 years. To continuously blame various different Labour leaderships makes no sense. I have said it before and I will say it again: this is the second time in a decade that a Conservative Government have retrospectively changed the rights of migrants after they have entered this country. We saw the misery that the Immigration Act 2014 caused the Windrush generation. What does it say about us that we are bringing EU nationals under the same rules?
I turn to what is in the Bill and its real effects on workers here, whether they are from overseas or not. There is a real risk that the effect of the Bill will be to lower the rights of all migrant workers in this country and, in that way, lower rights and terms and conditions for all workers. Crucially, the right to residency will be dependent on employment status. There is no right to a family life enshrined in the Bill, and “no recourse to public funds” remains an explicit policy. The combination of those and other factors effectively creates another, lower tier of the workforce, with fewer rights and very limited means of enforcing even those.
That is dangerous enough to migrant workers, but it can also rebound on the entire workforce as unscrupulous employers play divide and rule. Our legislation on health and safety, on equal pay and on opposing discrimination is not enforced vigorously enough as it is. If a large section of the workforce can be treated as second class, the situation will get worse for everyone. Quite simply, the Bill is not fit for purpose as it stands.