Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, has criticised UK Government plans for skills shortages in the fishing industry to be filled by young people on gap years and branded it an “insult to the industry”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said:
“According to the Migration Advisory Committee, the answer to the crew shortages in our fishing ports is to crew boats using New Zealanders and Australians on a gap year. I just wonder what world these people live in. That is insulting, and it is not just an insult from the Migration Advisory Committee; since the Minister and her colleagues rely on the report as the basis for continuing to refuse the most modest and common-sense proposal, it is an insult from those on the Treasury Bench themselves.”
Speaking after the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Government policy relies on a report from the Migration Advisory Committee which has given no consideration to the needs of the fishing industry.
“Skippers have been telling Ministers for years now that we need skilled deckhands from outside the EU to fill the gaps in the labour market. Successive immigration ministers have refused to listen and, as a result, boats have been tied up around the coastline unable to go to sea.
“The suggestion that this gap can be filled through the Youth Mobility Scheme is ridiculous and should have been dismissed out of hand by the Immigration Minister. It should not have been used as the basis for Government policy.”