Why we’re voting against the Tories’ Immigration Bill

May 18, 2020 3:02 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our country and our communities.

Tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. Hundreds of thousands of social care workers. And millions more in sectors hit hard by this crisis, from restaurants and hotels to construction and manufacturing.

Migrants are putting their lives on the line to protect us every single day. And migrants will be crucial to creating economic growth and jobs as we recover from this crisis.

This bill does nothing to fix problems with our immigration system - instead it exposes EU citizens to the Conservatives' Hostile Enviornment

So I honestly cannot understand why now, in the midst of this crisis, Priti Patel is pushing ahead with her plans to make it much, much harder for employers to hire people overseas.

Under her new immigration system, it would be much harder for doctors and nurses to come to work in the NHS, and they'd have to pay thousands of pounds in fees for the privilege. And it would be virtually impossible to recruit social care workers, hotel staff or construction workers from overseas.

These Conservative plans would be incredibly damaging. Now more than ever, we should be celebrating the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our NHS, social care and across our society; not trying to stop them.

And what makes this Bill even worse is that there are real problems with our immigration system that need fixing.

Employers can't recruit the workers they need, leaving the NHS short of nurses and social care in crisis. People without documents are denied access to healthcare and housing. Far too many people are detained indefinitely, in inhumane conditions and at great expense. Families are separated by unfair, complex visa requirements. Public confidence in the system has been shattered.

Yet this Bill will do nothing to fix these problems. Instead, by exposing EU citizens to the Conservatives' Hostile Environment, it will make them worse.

What we need instead is a fair, effective and compassionate immigration system that treats everyone with dignity they deserve.

That's why Liberal Democrats will vote against this Bill and oppose the Tories' cruel, destructive immigration policies every step of the way.