HC Deb 17 March 1938 vol 333 cc572-3
13. Mr. Day

asked the Minister of Labour the number of aliens who have been admitted to Great Britain during the three years ended to the last convenient date for the purpose of filling clerical occupations; what inquiries are made by his Department before permits are granted; and whether any steps are taken to ascertain whether such work can be efficiently executed by unemployed British subjects?

Mr. E. Brown

Excluding student-employés and persons required for administrative and executive posts, the numbers of foreigners in respect of whom permission was granted to fill clerical posts in each of the years 1935, 1936 and 1937, were 375, 439 and 515, respectively. Permission is granted only after my Department has satisfied itself that all possible steps have been taken to secure a resident of this country for the post and that the employment of a foreigner is reasonable and necessary.

Mr. Day

Is there any exchange of labour in cases of this kind?

Mr. Brown

Of course there are arrangements between various countries. I do not know whether the hon. Member is referring to that, or not.

Mr. Day

Cannot clerical labour be obtained in this country without allowing aliens to come in?

Mr. Brown

I could not accept a general statement of that kind. I have already pointed out that each case is dealt with on its merits and the number is small.

Colonel Nathan

Are not a number of these persons refugees seeking asylum in this country from persecution in Germany?

Mr. Brown

These facts are, of course, taken into account in measuring the merits of the case. The primary duty of the Department always is to see that a person admitted does not deprive a British person of employment.

Mr. R. Acland

Has not this country in the past derived enormous advantage from allowing refugees from foreign persecution the right of asylum?

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