To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact assessments they have conducted of their New Plan for Immigration policy paper, published on 24 March, on the protection and rights of victims of modern slavery as set out in (1) section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, (2) the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, (3) the EU Directive on Human Trafficking (Directive 2011/36/EU), and (4) the European Convention on Human Rights.
26 May 2021
The UK is committed to ensuring victims of modern slavery are identified quickly and provided with the support they require to start to rebuild their lives.
More potential victims are being identified and protected than ever before. National Referral Mechanism (NRM) referrals more than doubled between 2017 and 2020 from 5,135 to 10,613. There is more information on referrals available at: Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics UK, end of year summary 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
In March 2021, the Government published a report on issues raised by people in immigration detention. This provides data on some of the concerns we are seeking to address through the New Plan for Immigration. This is available at: Issues raised by people facing return in immigration detention - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
There are concerns about the potential for a referral to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to be used to frustrate Immigration Enforcement processes or to gain access to support inappropriately. For example, there has been a growth in NRM referrals being made after a person enters immigration detention. In 2019, 16% of people detained within the UK following immigration offences were referred as potential victims of modern slavery. This is up from just 3% in 2017.
This raises legitimate concerns that some referrals are being made late in the process to frustrate immigration action and that legitimate referrals are not being made in a timely way. The New Plan for Immigration will address both concerns.
We are currently preparing an Impact Assessment (IA) for all elements of the Borders Bill which aims to appraise impacts of the policy changes being introduced. This appraisal is in line with HMT’s Green Book Guidance on economic appraisal and will include the modern slavery measures. Exact timings for the IA will depend on timings for the Bill itself, but the IA will be made available as early as is practicable.
We are also comprehensively assessing the equalities impacts in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty.