MP persuades Home Office over fishermen

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WESTERN Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has welcomed the decision by the Immigration Minister Damien Green MP to issue a final extension to the visas issued to fishermen from the Philippines.

Representatives from the west coast of Scotland fishing industry met with Damien Green MP in an effort to keep these fishermen in the UK.

It was argued that these fishermen are vital to the industry, without them some skippers faced having to tie up their boats, due to lack of crew.

The Minister has now informed Angus MacNeil MP by letter that there would be one last extension to the fishermen’s visas with several stipulations attached, among them are:

1. There will be no further visa extensions by the Home Office for these fishermen.

2. The skipper/owners and fishermen must provide written confirmation that they understand there will be no more extensions.

3. The fishermen must leave the UK by 31 August 2012.

Angus MacNeil MP said: “I am glad that Damien Green MP saw common sense on this issue.

“His decision to extend the visas means that many domestic UK jobs will be saved as well.

“Skippers were literally days from bankruptcy and UK workers in fish processors were very close to losing their jobs so I thank Mr Green for allowing all of these people to continue work in the UK.

“It is unfortunate that his letter also states that there will be no further extensions for these fishermen who have become such an integral part of our community.

“Nonetheless, I am pleased that our fishing industry will continue to perform at a top level.”