Clause 8 - Offence of illegal working

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:32 pm on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Civil Liberties) 3:32 pm, 27th October 2015

It has come to my attention that some Conservative Members did not listen to absolutely every word, so I wondered whether they would like me to recap from the start, or just to summarise where I was.

I was speaking about someone I met on my travels who had sought asylum in the UK and ended up in Glasgow. Mehdi, with his wife Rezi, were refused asylum, were destitute and were threatened with deportation. They were terrified of being returned to their country of origin because of what would happen to them. Mehdi ended up working illegally for £3 an hour, being completely exploited, and he did that because he did not have a choice. The point I was making was that he did not do that just to get by and to be able to buy food and clothes. He was doing it because they were saving up to be smuggled out of the country, not back to their country of origin, but to another country that they would enter illegally because they were so afraid of being sent back to their home country.

I was making the point that if this Bill had been in place then, Mehdi would have faced the additional risk of going to prison. I spent some time with him and he was most certainly not someone who—