Posted on February 14th 2013
On Monday 11 February, I attended the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration inquiry into the effects of the family immigration restrictions introduced in July 2012. It was the first (of two) sessions on verbal evidence into the It has decided to focus its remit on to two key issues: the income requirement and elderly dependent relatives.
Last night was the first of two verbal sessions, the second will be held on 4th March. On the panel to consider the evidence were: Sarah Teather (LibDem MP), Lord Hussain (LibDem Peer), Baroness Hamwee, Chair (LibDem Peer), Kate Green (Lab MP) and Lord Teverson (LibDem Lord)
Previously, JCWI submitted written evidence (see document below).
We heard expert evidence from four witnesses:
- Professor David Metcalf, Migration Advisory Committee
- Jill Rutter
- Barry O'Leary, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association
- Mahmud Quayum, Camden Community Law Centre
David Metcalf showed that MAC draw up their recommendations and proposals with a calculator and a rule book, with no resorting to talking to actual people, so they do not have to consider the effects of their recommendations on the lives of real people. After giving his evidence he was subjected to some relatively mild questioning by the panel. Barry O’Leary a solicitor representing ILPA was lively with some persuasive case studies mostly regarding relatively wealthy people who would still fail to satisfy the regulations, he made the rules show up for the ridiculous red tape they are. Mahmud Qayyam did a very good job and showed the impact on poorer people, migrant communities and people on the catchment area of Camden Law Centre. Jill Rutter gave a very studied and well researched statement, she spent some time talking about the impact of the English language requirement but was then informed that language was not a matter for this inquiry.
The evidence from these experts and the questioning of them by the panel was quite lengthy, and with just 10 minutes to go before the meeting was scheduled to end, the meeting was opened to the floor. People rattled through their points, JCWI managed to make three points: The disproportionate impact on women, because of lower wages and childcare responsibilities, the looming end to legal aid for immigration being a disaster heading for us, and the pernicious way the income requirement is being implemented.
After that the meeting was high octane and very uncomfortable for Prof Metcalfe. More testimonies and descriptions of the toll the separation of families takes on people mentally and physically, the human stories so conveniently omitted from the considerations of policy makers and their advisors.
The final contributor targeted her questions about elderly dependents directly at Prof Metcalfe, who was obliged to respond, looking like he’d rather be having root canal treatment. He was somewhat rescued by Sarah Teather who suggested the questions were better aimed at the Government – a body of people strangely unrepresented in the room.
The next session will be held on Monday 4 March, if you would like to attend, you can register for the event here.