Social cohesion is key to allowing people to integrate into our communities, and a humane immigration and asylum policy is vital if we are to fight the rise of hate-crimes towards fleeing persecution or seeking a better life. Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Christine Jardine, recently outlined the party's compassionate approach to immigration and asylum. Sandwell has had more than its fair share of an immigration system that is broken, and it is hurting everyone. Sandwell Council has tried to talk to the Home Office about some of these cases, but the hostile environment meant that often nothing was done to help our community.
What is needed are not arbitrary targets, but effective regulation and enforcement that prevents unscrupulous companies and traffickers exploiting vulnerable migrants to undermine the labour market and worker protections. This will make it easier for people to integrate into our society and contribute to our communities.
Decades of hostile policies and rhetoric from both Labour and Conservative governments have created a system that no one trusts, and that fails to respect people’s dignity.
Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for Sandwell, with targeted, intelligence-led immigration enforcement.
Our proposals include:
- Move policymaking on work permits and student visas out of the Home Office and into the Departments for Business and Education respectively.
- Invest in officers, training and technology to prevent illegal entry at Britain’s borders, assist asylum seekers and combat human trafficking and the smuggling of people.
- Tackle human trafficking and modern slavery through proactive, intelligence-led enforcement of labour market standards, with a powerful new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to protect people in precarious work.
- Enable people who came here as children to apply for resident status.
- Replace Tier 2 work visas with a more flexible merit-based system.
- End the detention of vulnerable people, including survivors of torture, victims of trafficking and modern slavery, and pregnant women.
- Give asylum seekers the right to work three months after they have applied, enabling them to work in any role so that they can support themselves, integrate in their communities and contribute through taxation.
- Offer asylum to people fleeing the risk of violence because of their sexual
orientation or gender identification, end the scepticism of LGBT+ asylum cases and never refuse an LGBT+ applicant on the basis that they could be discreet.