Yesterday in the Commons we debated and voted on the second reading of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill.
My Labour colleagues and I opposed the bill. We believe that it harms the NHS and the care sector and risks creating a shortage of nurses, carers and other key health workers in the middle of a global pandemic.
We believe rushing the bill through Parliament during the COVID-19 crisis, when many of those workers are saving lives and keeping the country running, is unnecessary and wholly inappropriate. The bill gives the Government sweeping powers to create a new immigration system – without proper parliamentary scrutiny – and will label many of the workers who are keeping our country running ‘unskilled’ and ‘unwelcome’.
The new immigration system proposed by the Government contains a salary threshold of £25,600, which will exclude many health and social care workers and have a devastating impact on the health and social care sector. Put simply, it values workers by what they earn, rather than what they contribute to our society.
At a time when we need our health and social care workers more than ever, the Government’s proposed new system is not in the national interest.