Immigration Bill — Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:12 pm on 10th February 2014.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:12 pm, 10th February 2014

Yes, I am sure that noble Lords would expect me to extol the virtues of the Bill—they would be sorely disappointed if I failed to do so. It will be for noble Lords in this House to discuss its provisions, but some of the commentary that I have read over the past few days on the Bill bears no relation to the Bill as drafted, or indeed to the intention of the Government. If I may give an example, claims that we intend to turn GPs into immigration officers are untrue. Claims that communicable diseases will spread like wildfire and that emergency care will be denied are far-fetched. Nothing in the Bill changes processes in our front-line health services.

Part 4 of the Bill is about tackling sham marriages and civil partnerships. These are entered into by a couple who are not in a genuine relationship for the purposes of circumventing immigration controls. They are a significant problem, as this House will recognise. The Bill will enable more of these cases to be identified, investigated and prevented from gaining an immigration advantage.

As the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, has said, a lot has been said about this Bill and a lot more will be said. I know that this House will give it serious scrutiny and I would expect nothing less. While we do that, I hope that we will separate myth from reality and spin from substance. The Bill renews the legal foundations for proper enforcement of our immigration laws. That enforcement is necessary to build public trust in the system. It is also necessary to enable us to reap the benefits of migration as a nation. I commend the Bill to the House. I beg to move.