§ 10. Mr. D. G. SOMERVILLE
asked the Minister of Labour how many German domestic servants are in this country under permit from his Department; what steps are taken by him in respect of each individual application to satisfy himself that the position filled by the German 1026 domestic cannot equally be filled by an English one; and whether he is aware that many German servants are in fact engaged in this country without any formalities on the part of the employer?
Permits in respect of foreign domestic servants are normally issued for an initial period of months and the number of such servants remaining here under permit for more than two years is negligible. The numbers of such permits issued in respect of German nationals in 1931 (namely, 2,034), in 1932 (namely, 1,126) and in the first 10 months of 1933 (namely, 878) will therefore indicate the number now in this country, though I cannot give the figure precisely. Before issuing a permit the Department satisfies itself as far as practicable that the situation cannot be filled by a person already in this country. As regards the last part of the question, I have no reason to suppose that employers are engaging domestic servants from abroad without obtaining permits; engagements of foreign domestics already in this country under permit do not require any formality beyond notification to the police.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
In view of the amount of unemployment in this country, is it wise to permit the importation of foreign workers into this country; and under what permit, in view of the Aliens Act, is this now being done?
I have pointed out that no permit is issued unless the Department is satisfied that a British worker cannot be obtained, and, therefore, the admission of the alien does not prejudice the interests of the British worker.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
Even if they do satisfy the Department, is it wise that they should be allowed to enter in view of the unemployment among female workers in this country?
It is the duty of the officials of my Department to satisfy themselves that a situation cannot be filled by British workers; otherwise, a permit is not issued.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Is there any truth in the statement which has been made that these German domestic servants come in here and are employed because they are cheaper than the British maids?
No, Sir, because steps are taken by my Department to see that lower wages are not paid to the foreign domestic workers.