Clause 8 - Requirements for naturalisation etc.

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 19 October 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 3:45, 19 October 2021

I very much agree, because the people we are talking about came here because they were invited. My partner’s family were among them. Thankfully, they were not caught up in this scandal.

We needed people to come here and help rebuild after world war two. People living in the Caribbean were well used to having white people in charge of their country, but what they were not so used to was the racist abuse that would meet them when they reached these shores. They assumed they would be welcome because they were part of the Commonwealth. They fought in our wars. They were invited here. It must have been a huge shock when they got here and somehow that narrative changed.

The narrative is still being used—it is still being used by some people elected to this place—that somehow the gratitude in all of this should be their gratitude to us and that we are somehow doing them some sort of favour. In fact, lots of our wealth was built on the backs of the people we enslaved on those islands. I cannot remember what it is called, but there is such a thing as the collective, inherited trauma that people suffer from. Their descendants were then invited over here to do what we needed done and they were treated the way they were treated, and then they were treated by this Government in the way they were treated in the Windrush scandal.

In the first years, about 5,000 Jamaican nurses came here. We have heard about all of those people from overseas territories who came and supported our health service. Many of them have suffered greatly. Some died during the pandemic, because they put themselves at risk. We needed those 5,000 nurses who came from Jamaica in the first years for our health system, but Jamaica needed them as well. We took them out of the Jamaican health system. We should have been thanking them. We should have been on our knees with gratitude. I do not like the narrative that they are somehow supposed to be grateful to us. So, yes, I would have liked these measures to have gone much further, but I will say that taking away the five-year rule is at least doing something to hold our hands up and say, “We did something wrong, and you don’t deserve to have to wait the five years when you are not the ones at fault.”