HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc604-6
56. Mr. JESSON

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware of the discontent caused amongst that section of the workers who are being thrown out of employment by those foreigners who obtain admission into this country through the leakages of the Aliens Restriction Act by describing themselves as tourists, and, when settled, obtaining employment at the expense of our own unemployed workers, and others who gain admission by describing themselves as followers of occupations that are not exempt under the Aliens Restriction Act, and then, having gained admission, change their occupations to those that are exempt; if he is aware of the bitterness against all foreigners which this unfair competition is causing during the present period of abnormal unemployment; and whether, having regard to the present number of our own unemployed, which is approximately 2,000,000, and the fact that during the next five years openings for permanent employment must be found for at least another 1,000,000 workers owing to the growth of the population and the need for providing for them before considering the claims of foreigners, he will consider the advisability of amending the Aliens Restriction Act so as to deal with all who obtain admission into this country by making these false statements?


The Miens Order requires that all aliens coming to the United Kingdom to take up employment must be in possession of a Ministry of Labour permit, and aliens who come here for that purpose without such a permit are refused leave to land. It is possible that a few aliens may succeed in evading this requirement, but I am satisfied that there is no such widespread evasion as is suggested in the hon. Member's question, and that aliens are not entering this country in large numbers to compete with British labour. Any alien who makes a false statement or false representation to an immigration officer is liable to prosecution under the Order; but it is not always possible to secure sufficient evidence to justify proceedings being taken. I do not think that this difficulty could be removed by any amendment of the Aliens Order.


The right hon. Gentleman, replying to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for the Melton Division (Sir C. Yate), refused to answer a part of it, as to the number of aliens who had been deported, on the ground that the point was raised in another question on the Paper. As that question has not been put, I desire to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman ought not now to answer the whole of my hon. Friend's question?


The fault, if there be one, is on the part of the absent Member. At the same time, as it is one half of the other question, I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will answer it.


In answer to my hon. Friend's supplementary question I would say that, out of 314 aliens deported since the beginning of the present year for a variety of reasons, four were deported on account of activities which may be classed as revolutionary. No doubt others among them, though deported for such offences as landing without leave, etc., were in fact revolutionaries, and others of the same class are excluded by refusing them permission to land.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does not that show that the whole of this political police force is absolutely unnecessary?


That does not arise out of the question on the paper.