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Clause 1 - Director of Labour Market Enforcement

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 10:15 am, 27th October 2015

I shall be brief, given that we have had quite a wide-ranging debate about the purpose of clause 1. I underline that the purpose of and the rationale behind the appointment of the labour market enforcement director is that the three main enforcement agencies work together. They are well respected, with distinct expertise, knowledge and skills, and collectively they span the spectrum of infringement from the simplest forms of non-compliance to exploitation that may include some form of slavery. There has been a shift in the nature of such exploitation from individual abuses of employment regulation towards organised criminal activity, which is why it is important that we have an overarching response that ensures that we join the work of the bodies together.

To enable the enforcement bodies to address the problem collectively, we have determined that there is a need for greater co-ordination among them, as well as the need for a single set of priorities. We want to ensure that there is strong, effective co-ordination of the three enforcement bodies, but we also want to achieve that with minimal disruption and while avoiding significant structural change.

We believe that the key lies in establishing effective overarching leadership and co-ordination of the enforcement bodies, so the clause creates the position of director of labour market enforcement. The director will lead efforts to tackle abuse and non-compliance in the labour market. As we will debate later, that work will involve setting the strategy for the Government’s work to tackle all types of labour market exploitation, and heading an information hub to enable better sharing of tactical and operational intelligence, as well as to build a stronger evidence base to inform future interventions.

Creating a director provides the greatest scope for achieving the strategic integration of the three enforcement bodies without losing their different specialist skills. It is vital that those skills are retained to deal with not only day-to-day compliance issues, but serious criminality. If the system focused exclusively on either serious exploitation or lower-level breaches, it would not provide the necessary protection for vulnerable workers, which is why we have drafted the Bill in such a way.