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Fishing Industry: Employment

Volume 655: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

15. What steps the Government are taking to ensure that the fishing industry can employ crew members from outside the EEA. (909402)

The Government set out their plans for the future immigration system in the White Paper published on 18 December. We recognise the need to provide employers with flexibility as the new system is implemented, and our proposals include plans for a temporary short-term workers route, which will be open to overseas workers at all skill levels and in any occupation.

May I remind the Minister that when she replied to my Adjournment debate on 11 July last year she told us that she was “conscious of the urgency” of tackling this issue, but that she wanted to get the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee and would expect then to “reflect” upon it? Beyond what she has just said, how are these reflections going? When will we get a concrete proposal for a scheme?

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that question. He will of course be aware that when the MAC provided us with its report last year it was clear in its recommendation that we should not introduce sectoral schemes to meet labour needs at lower skill levels, except in agriculture. He will be aware that I have held various meetings with right hon. and hon. Members, and undertaken two visits to talk to the fishing sector—one to Kilkeel harbour and one to Troon. I have undertaken to make a further such visit to Banff and Buchan, which I hope will take place around Easter.