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Consequential etc provision

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 4:30 pm, 26th February 2019

The hon. Lady makes a very valid point. I would be interested to see whether the Government will have the courage of their convictions and reassess the impact on the Treasury of the changes. Researchers from Middlesex University found pretty much the opposite of what the Government suggested would happen. That is because of situations like the one that the hon. Lady describes. Another example is that of parents who have had to give up work because they do not have a spouse here to support them and share childcare responsibilities. It is far from clear cut that there has been a burden on the taxpayer, and it is not a reasonable argument anyway—I would not split families apart merely to save the taxpayer a small sum of money.

I do not understand the argument about integration—how does being separated from a spouse possibly help anyone to integrate? We are saying to these individuals, “You’re not entitled to have your husband or wife or child join you here; we expect you to head off to another country and integrate there.” It is a very strange argument, which I do not follow. I do not think there is a public confidence argument either. The more the public hear about these rules, the more they are outraged, so I reject that argument.

I will think again about precisely how the amendment is worded, but on this occasion the Minister gravely underestimates how far wrong the immigration rules have strayed. I ask her to look again at how they operate and stop families having to suffer in this way. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.