Clause 35

Part of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 13 July 2006.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Shadow Minister (Education) 3:00, 13 July 2006

I am grateful to the Minister for taking the time to outline what is already in the Bill, but I remain a little confused as to why so much emphasis and effort have been put into negotiating agreements with Canada and Australia, but not other countries from which we receive many overseas workers. He said that the amendments sound reasonable, but that the relevant issues are already dealt with in the Bill. Surely, if he agrees that the amendments are reasonable, and given that they merely clarify what is already in the Bill,  would not it be entirely sensible to make it clearer to the employers who will have to try to interpret this legislation that specific actions need to be taken with regard to overseas employees?

I expected the Minister to say something slightly different—that, as we are talking about employment practices, the Bill might not be the right place in which to articulate the need for more vigilance with employment, given that the criminal records of individuals might not be fully available to us. I would have been open to an argument that we need to consider other ways in which to communicate that to employers—perhaps through codes of practice. The Minister’s intention might be to cover overseas employees, but I am concerned that the Bill is a little hazy on that.