Clause 16

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of John Hemming John Hemming Liberal Democrat, Birmingham, Yardley 5:00 pm, 13th March 2007

Unsurprisingly, I suppose, I rise to support the amendment. A difficulty raised by the Transport and General Workers Union and the trade unions in the evidence sessions is that employers who are in the twilight zone like to stay there. They like to employ undocumented workers who have no right to work because they have no rights and therefore cannot enforce any employment rights. An issue that has been raised and needs to be addressed is the complex situation that exists in terms of immigration and employment law and the lack of a one-to-one relationship between the two. If we are aiming to introduce legislation on the basis of evidence rather than mere assertion, there is a merit in considering that issue in relation to the people who have a right to be here and work. It is clear that some people have a right to be here to study. Then there are the people about whom we are not quite sure; and then there are the people who should not be here, and obviously if they should not be here, they should not have a right to work. We need to consider this evidence-based question: is it really helpful to tell people, when we do not know whether they have a right to be here or not, that they cannot work? Would it be better to say, “No, let’s not have those people as a burden on the state. Let’s not have the taxpayer look after them. Let’s say, if they can look after—”