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Foreign Domestic Workers

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour whether a decision has yet been made to allow foreigners admitted to this country to be employed in a domestic capacity for hotels, guest houses and similar establishments; when this question was first raised; and why there has been such a long delay in reaching a decision.

No, Sir. This Question, the importance of which I fully appreciate, is under constant review, but, for the reasons given in reply to the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) on 26th June, it is impossible for me to state at present when a decision can be reached to extend the field within which foreigners may be employed on domestic work.

Has not this question been under discussion for a very considerable time, and if it is answered in the affirmative and foreigners are allowed into this country, will he not make it possible to employ these people in hotels, which is, I know, their own wish?

We are recruiting these people for hospitals, farms, hardship households and the textile industry, which must have first claim, and we are trying to meet all demands as quickly as we can.

Does my hon. Friend think that he will be in a position to make a decision before the holiday period, because it is during the holidays that this help is so badly needed, as the staffs in hotels and guest houses are terribly overworked at that time?

I must impress upon the House that the textile industry has to come first. I indicated last week that we thought we had located 7,000 single women in the French zone, and we are taking immediate steps to recruit them, but we must meet first the needs of the textile industry.

Would it out be a good thing to allow in a few more displaced persons for this work and so release university professors who are now washing dishes?

What makes the right hon. Gentleman think that, if he stops these people going into hotels, he will get any more for the textile industry?

There is no one stopping people going into hotels. This is a question of a Government recruiting scheme.