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Commonwealth Immigrants

Volume 656: debated on Thursday 29 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Commonwealth immigrants arrived in February, 1962; from which countries they came; and what were the corresponding figures for the two preceding years.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of Commonwealth immigrants from 1st January to 28th February, 1962; from which countries they principally came; and how these figures compare for each country with those of the corresponding period in 1961.

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the figures for February for the last three years; the corresponding figures for January were given on 1st March in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).

Can my hon. and learned Friend give the figures from Pakistan for February?

In February, 1962, 3,460 was the figure for the inward net movement from Pakistan compared with the figure of 650 in 1961.

Would not my hon. and learned Friend agree that the figures in answer to the first part of my Question are greatly in excess this year of those last year? Is he aware that special charter flights are being put on by B.O.A.C. for immigrants from the West Indies, and since this frustrates the purpose of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, will he try to discourage or limit this traffic?

The Questions asked for comparative statistics on immigration. As I have said, these figures will appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They show a considerable increase over those for last year. With respect to my hon. Friend, I do not think that his supplementary question arises out of the Question.

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman made any estimate how far this increase is due to an attempt to beat the Bill before it comes into operation and how far the figures must, therefore, be discounted?

Has not the hon. and learned Gentleman seen the interviews, both in the Press and on television, with incoming immigrants, nearly every one of whom said that he had speeded his coming to this country because of the propaganda of hon. Members opposite and, lately, because of the introduction of the Bill?

Does my right hon. and learned Friend not remember that this argument was used ten years ago when the figures were one-tenth of what they are today, and that unless something is done to prevent these numbers, the people of this country, who look to hon. Members to look after them, will take action?

Following are the figures:

Estimated net inward movement in February from196019611962
West Indies1,1702,5002,790
East African territories−30170190
West African territories−30110630
Hong KongNil6060
Miscellaneous territories1012060


1. A minus sign denotes a net outward movement.
2. Figures are not available in respect of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give an assurance that, immediately the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill passes into law, he will take every possible step to ensure the early and effective operation of the Act.

When this Measure is enacted, there will be no avoidable delay in bringing it into operation.

Has my right hon. Friend seen the report in the Daily Telegraph this morning that 30,000 Pakistanis, mostly illiterate peasants, are being brought to this country, and that a Karachi businessman said, "This is a new slave trade. There are millions in it"? Will not my right hon. Friend do something to stop this awful racket that is being developed?

I must confine myself to answering the Question, which is: "Will I bring the Bill into operation?" The answer is that I will bring it into operation as soon as I can.

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) has brought enough damage to the good name of Britain—

I do not think that can be in order because the Minister cannot have a duty to express opinions of that kind.