HC Deb 28 May 1891 vol 353 cc1190-2
MR. JENNINGS (Stockport)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, considering the recent considerable increase in the number of destitute foreigners arriving at English ports, the Government will take into consideration the expediency of adopting regulations similar to those which are in force in the United States and other countries, with a view to placing reasonable restrictions on the importation of foreign paupers, who disorganise various branches of the labour market in this country, and inflict great injury on native workmen?

MR. DARLING (Deptford)

I beg also to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the recent landing in London of large numbers of indigent aliens; and whether, having regard to the fact that it has been found necessary to encourage English labourers to emigrate, the Government will consider the advisability of enacting laws such as those now in force in the United States for preventing the importation of persons likely to become a charge upon the people of this Kingdom?

MR. O. V. MORGAN (Battersea)

I beg further to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is aware that foreign labourers are arriving in this country in increased numbers, and whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to introduce legislation on the subject at least as stringent as that existing in the United States of North America, the Dominion of Canada, and the Australian Colonies?


The whole subject of the immigration of destitute foreigners is receiving the very serious attention of Her Majesty's Government, but it does not appear that the immigration has materially increased beyond the point it had reached when it was considered by the recent Committee, which did not recommend immediate measures. Considerable difficulty surrounds the question. The right of asylum in this country as regards political refugees has always been maintained, and restrictions upon the immigration of foreigners who may be supposed to be destitute would involve legislation which would require to be very carefully guarded in order to prevent greater evils than those against which it might be directed. Regard also must be had to the fact that there is a considerable emigration of Englishmen to the Continent where they find profitable employment; but, I repeat, the subject is a grave one deserving of careful consideration.

MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

Are the Government in possession of authentic information in regard to the number of persons who arrive from foreign countries and remain here, and as to the percentage of those who leave this country for the United States or other parts of the world? It is right that I should state that one of the recommendations of the Committee, to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, was to the effect that information of that kind should be collected by the Government and placed at the disposal of the country. Will the Government carry out that recommendation and give the information?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer the question. Steps have been taken to obtain such information. Some of it has already been presented to Parliament, and from time to time further information will be given.