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Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have immigrated into this country each year since the war.

I regret that no information is available about the number of persons other than aliens who have come to live in the United Kingdom since the war.

Under our system of immigration control, aliens are not ordinarily admitted as immigrants in the first instance, save in exceptional circumstances. The majority of the aliens who have been accepted as permanent residents in recent years were admitted on a temporary basis—e.g., on Ministry of Labour permits—and accepted as residents some years after their arrival.

Figures of aliens accepted as permanent residents are not available for each year since the war, but in the immediate postwar years nearly 250,000 foreigners were as an exceptional measure admitted or allowed to remain in this country as a special contribution to the relief of distress abroad and to the resettlement of displaced persons. Precise figures are not available but it is estimated that the number at present being admitted to permanent residence is of the order of 8,000 to 9,000 a year.

Has my right hon. and learned Friend noted that when citizens of the United Kingdom desire to go to a Colonial Territory they have to give very considerable undertakings, both financial and otherwise? Will he represent to the Colonial Secretary that it is desirable that our people should be able to go to the Colonial Territories with facility equal to that with which people from the Colonial Territories can come to the United Kingdom?

I will certainly convey the contents of my hon. Friend's question to my right hon. Friend.