Non-EEA Visas: Inshore Fishing — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:51 am on 17th July 2018.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee 9:51 am, 17th July 2018

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I cannot understand what people prefer about the sunny Philippines when they could be living on a fishing boat in the rain on the windy west coast of Scotland or Northern Ireland, but that is just me.

The Home Office also mentioned welfare, but I would argue that welfare is far better on the west coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where boats go home each night. If the Government are that concerned about welfare, they should check every boat outside the 12-mile limit. As the hon. Member for Moray said, those boats are fishing 92 hours on the trot, and giving people perhaps four hours off. We do not know what is happening on those boats. People are illegally working because they are outside the 12-mile limit. Just about the entire west coast of Scotland is inside the 12-mile limit, even though the waters go further than 12 miles. That is a good thing, and we welcomed it when it happened, because we kept those waters for our own boats on the west coast. Now we have been snookered by the Government in London and the Home Office, which are focusing on security rather than the economy. With the greatest respect to the Minister, it is instructive that they have sent the Minister for Security to deal with this immigration matter, and that will annoy many people.