Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip
In accordance with the Inter-Institutional Relations Agreement, I am giving notification that I attended the second meeting of the Safety, Security and Migration Interministerial Group (IMG), which took place virtually on 11 July, bringing together members of all four governments.
The meeting was attended by the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon. Suella Braverman KC MP, as the Chair, and the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP. Senior Officials from the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice were in also in attendance in the absence of Ministers.
At the meeting I expressed my disappointment that the vote by the Senedd to withhold consent to the Illegal Migration Bill was not considered by UK Government. I highlighted the concerns that Welsh Government have on the negative impact the bill will have on unaccompanied children in Wales and the need for us to be involved in the development of guidance to ensure Welsh Governments legislations are not over written.
During the meeting I also re-emphasised the Welsh Government’s focus on Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary and our continuing commitment to asylum dispersal and community cohesion; and how thorough and consistent communication between the Home Office’s private provider and Local Authorities is vital in ensuring Wales meets its accommodation target. I raised concerns on the increasing timescales for processing asylum applications and the negative impact this is having on both applicants and the economy and re-iterated my previous requests for a review of the current UK Government’s policy which prevents asylum seekers for working for the first twelve months of entering the UK.
I praised the hard work being undertaken by Border Force officials to tackle the increasing influx of illegal drugs into the UK and welcomed the current work being undertaken to develop a memorandum of understanding with Welsh Government to improve information sharing. I expressed that the Welsh Government would welcome the opportunity to be engaged on all matters of crime and highlighted the benefits of a collaborative approach when tackling crime and threats to National Security.
A short joint Communiqué is published on the UK Government website at: Interministerial Group for Safety, Security and Migration Communiqué: 11 July 2023