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Malta (Emigration)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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62.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the fact that the population of Malta is much greater than the islands are able to support, he will encourage emigration to this country to relieve domestic help and other manpower shortages here.

There is no obstacle to the entry of any Maltese British subject into this country, and many Maltese have in fact come here on their own initiative to take up employment. Inquiries are proceeding regarding the numbers of Maltese willing to come to this country for employment in occupations which are suffering from shortage of labour, but who have not the resources to do so unaided. Should the results of these inquiries justify it, consideration will be given to the making of special arrangements.

But is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the surplus population of Malta is said to be in the region of 100,000 and that Malta has a very high birth rate; and is it not therefore necessary for him to take more active steps than he appears to be taking to deal with this problem?

It may possibly appear that I am taking very few steps, but I can assure the hon. Member that I have been very active in this matter.