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Friday, April 19, 2024

Home Office is Dropping The Anchor on The Fishing Industry

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Isles MP Angus MacNeil says the UK Government is dropping the anchor on the islands’ fishing industry with its strict English language requirements for foreign crew.

Mr MacNeil wrote to the Home Office earlier this year following representations from the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association and this week received a response once again stating that they will make no changes.

The requirement for crew to pass writing and reading English exams remains.

The letter from the Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Jenrick MP stated that one of the reasons for this requirement was to protect migrants from exploitation by employers.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

“It is unfair to penalise the whole industry based on very few who may take advantage of migrant workers.

“The requirement for crew to pass writing and reading English examination is a barrier as although the seamen have worked for many years and are fluent English speakers, they are unable to pass this specific exam.

“I will continue to press the Home Office to take a more pragmatic approach to the English requirements required for those working aboard fishing vessels. 

“This should reflect their working operation requirements rather than a one size fits all approach which seems to be the current requirement across all sectors.

“If there was a problem with language, the fishermen couldn’t possibly function with people they couldn’t speak to.

“That is the reality and the problem we have here is that the Home Office is making up rules which bare no connection to reality.

“If fishermen thought this was a real problem, they would not be fishing with people that they couldn’t communicate with.”

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