Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Devon MP highlights poor treatment of foreign trawler men

A Devon MP has said a "light needs to be shined" on the "appalling" treatment of non-EU nationals working on UK fishing fleet.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on 28 November 2012, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Oliver Colvile, said some workers were being "exploited for maximum profit".

He raised the cases of maltreatment of non-EU trawler men, working in UK waters on transit visas.

Transit visas are issued to visitors passing through the UK to a destination outside the UK.

In the fishing industry this means that trawler men on transit visas sometimes stay on board their vessels rather than coming on-shore when docked in a UK port.

Mr Colvile claimed that some workers were living in cramped conditions, spending "days and weeks trapped in UK ports, unable to leave their vessels".

Responding to the debate, Immigration Minister Mark Harper said that immigration authorities, such as the UK Border Force "regularly" took enforcement action against people employing non-EU nationals illegally.

He said that although immigration officials had no powers over working conditions, being primarily concerned with immigration rules, they would bring unsuitable behaviour to the attention of bodies such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

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