HC Deb 14 December 1900 vol 88 cc845-6

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that his predecessor announced, on the 10th of February, 1897, that Her Majesty's Government were pledged to some legislation regulating the immigration of aliens, upon the lines of Lord Salisbury's Bill of 1894, which has since passed the Upper House, and that the Government had no desire to depart from such pledges; and, if, having regard to the arrival at eastern ports between the 1st of January, 1897, and the 30th of November, 1900, of nearly 190,000 pauper aliens, exclusive of foreign sailors, for settlement in this country, upwards of fifty per cent, being Russians, Poles, and Italians, for the east end of London, and to the increase in the numbers of one-fourth this year, he will take steps to obtain the fulfillment of these promises, bearing especially in mind the hardships it would inflict upon the Reservists in South Africa if their places at home were taken by foreigners whilst they were fighting.


I am aware that my predecessor stated on 10th February, 1897, that the Government were pledged to some legislation on the subject of alien immigration. Between January 1st, 1897, and November 30th, 1900, about 190,000 aliens arrived in the United Kingdom from the Continent, exclusive of seamen and of persons staged on the Alien Lists to hold through tickets to other countries. The great majority of These aliens are, however, incorrectly described as "paupers, "and There is no reason to suppose that the bulk of Them settle per- manently in this country, a considerable number being known, from other sources of information, to have subsequently proceeded abroad. The other figures stated in the question are correct. As my predecessor stated in answer to the hon. Member for Southampton on March 26th, the forthcoming census is likely to give more accurate information than is now available as regards the permanent residence here of aliens. I am not at present in a position to make any statement with respect to legislation.


I beg to give notice that in the event of no legislation being proposed on this subject by the Government next session, I shall move an Amendment of the Address and divide the House upon it.


Is it proposed to prohibit the importation under contract of foreign workers?

[No answer was given.]

MR. FORDE RIDLEY (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to introduce next session any legislation to place restrictions upon the immigration of pauper aliens.


As I have already stated in my reply to my hon. and gallant friend the Member for the Central Division of Sheffield, I am not at present in a position to make any statement with respect to legislation on this subject.

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