Clause 8 - Offence of illegal working

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 4:00 pm, 27th October 2015

I am grateful. The Minister talks about illegal wage undercutting. Professor Metcalf rightly said in his evidence that if more rogue employers were brought to task for exploitation, it would reduce illegal wage undercutting and unlock wealth creation by legitimate business by releasing them from unfair competition from exploitative rivals. We need to bring rogue employers to book for all the reasons that the Minister has set out, but our central point is that if we are to achieve that, it will be important that those who are being exploited feel able to come forward.

The evidence to date is that even for documented individuals, there is a huge problem, which I think is generally accepted. The next proposition—it will be interesting to know whether the Minister disagrees with the proposition—is that while we have a bad situation for documented workers, it is likely to be far worse for undocumented workers. What assurance can the Minister give that the accepted bad situation will not be made worse by these provisions and that, in the end, the goal of bringing more rogue employers to book will not be lost?