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Clause 1 - Director of Labour Market Enforcement

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 9:45 am, 27th October 2015

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Bone, and other members of the Committee to our consideration of part 1 of the Bill, which deals with labour market enforcement. I look forward to the debates that we will have in the coming sittings to, I hope, improve the Bill and to reflect on significant issues relating to labour market enforcement and immigration more generally. I look forward to debate that I am sure will be wide ranging and well informed and that I hope will be good natured. These Committees are about scrutiny of the detail of the legislation. There will be strong views on certain issues, but the approach that I always take on Bill Committees is to listen and to reflect, and I hope to be able to inform and provide evidence and further background to the Committee during the detailed consideration of this Bill. With those words of introduction, I will move on to clause 1 and the amendment tabled by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras.

The effect of the amendment would be to specify the primary purpose of the director of labour market enforcement in clause 1. Although I appreciate the desire to include a strong statement up front on the  director’s remit, I believe, for reasons that I will explain, that the amendment is unnecessary. The director’s role and remit are already clearly set out in clauses 1 to 7. When we look at the provisions in clauses 2 and 3, which we will debate in the course of this morning, and the specific definitions of “labour market enforcement functions” and “labour market legislation”, we see that that provides a clear framework as to the intent behind the creation of the director, but I will explain this a little further.

We are creating the director of labour market enforcement to lead efforts to tackle abuse and non-compliance in the labour market. As we will explain in the debates on later clauses, that will include setting the strategy for the Government’s work to tackle all types of labour market exploitation and creating an information hub to facilitate better sharing of tactical and operational intelligence. I think that that is equally important. On some of the issues of vulnerability that have already been flagged in terms of identification, it is important to be able to share that information and get it to the right agencies so that they are able to act. I think that that goes beyond the remit specifically of the director, but I certainly understand and respect the points that have been made.