Away from the Commons Chamber, much of Parliament’s work takes place in Committees. Over the past five weeks, I have been part of the Public Bill Committee scrutinising the Government’s Immigration Bill line by line. The Bill continues the Government’s project to create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, in a way that creates real risks – including by criminalising undocumented work, cutting off support to families who are refused asylum and requiring landlords to carry out ‘right to rent’ checks.
I believe that we need effective controls on migration, but ones that will be fair and sensible. According to experts who gave evidence to the Committee, the measures in the Bill won’t reduce illegal migration, but will make it easier for employers to exploit migrant workers, leave children destitute and cause landlords to rent to people who ‘look or sound British’. I argued against these measures in Committee and made the case for introducing a statutory limit on indefinite immigration detention -; in line with the recommendations of an Inquiry of which I was Vice-Chair (see ).
You can read my questioning of Government Ministers over the Bill here. I have also written an article about how criminalising victims of labour exploitation will take the fight against modern slavery backwards.