§ Mr. Speaker
With this Amendment may be discussed that in page 2, line 19, leave out from "there" to the end of line 20.
§ Mr. Renton
During the Committee stage, the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) and others were afraid that the use of the word "regulating" implied that there was to be a detailed control of labour. I assured hon. Members that that was not our intention—indeed, it never has been our intention—but I said that I would consider the wording, particularly the use of the word "regulating" to see whether we could find some drafting which indicated that there was to be a prohibition on taking employment rather than any kind of detailed control of labour.
We are advised that, from the drafting point of view, the most simple way of doing this is to make the Amendment which I have just moved. It would be best if I reserved any comments about the Amendment being discussed with it until I have heard what hon. Members have to say about it.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, at the end to insert:(c) is a bona fide visitor to the United Kingdom.This is an attempt to put in the categories of people mentioned in the Clause the bona fide visitor to the United Kingdom. Since we last discussed this problem, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has allowed us to see the draft regulations which will be handed to the immigration officers. In these draft instructions, the following categories of Commonwealth citizen desiring to enter this country are dealt with visitors, students, Members of Parliament, people seeking employment, businessmen, self-employed people and the wives and children of Commonwealth citizens. It is remarkable that of that list bona fide visitors and Members of Parliament are the only two categories which are not mentioned in the Bill.
In the draft instructions, the Home Secretary makes his policy about visitors clear. He says:The need to impose a control on immigration for settlement in no way diminishes the Government's desire to welcome visitors. No obstacle is to be placed in the way of Commonwealth citizens genuinely wishing to visit the United Kingdom whether on holiday or for social, family, cultural or business reasons.690 I assure my right hon. Friend that I am completely at one with him in that expression of view, and I should have thought that Parliament was also. If Parliament agrees with him, then it should be shown in the Bill and not in instructions. If Parliament wishes to make its position as clear as the Home Secretary has done in his instructions, it is unprecedented that there should be no reference to Parliament's wishes in the Bill.
I beg my right hon. Friend to think carefully about this category of bona fide visitor. If he does not like the phrase "bona fide", and prefers "genuine", that is merely a matter of drafting to which I attach no importance, but I think that something ought to be put in to deal with this problem of visitors.
This matter goes to the root of our Commonwealth relations. The right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) spoke of Britain being the metropolis of the Commonwealth, and of visitors coming to it. For that reason, I beg my right hon. Friend to think again.
I see that one effect of the Amendment might be to remove from the immigration officer the power to limit the length of stay of a visitor, and I notice that paragraph 7 of the draft instructions says:The Immigration Officer has power to impose a condition limiting a visitor's length of stay in the United Kingdom. Where this power is exercised, he can in addition impose a condition limiting or prohibiting the visitor's employment or occupation.But I cannot believe that this is a power that my right hon. Friend really desires to exercise, and I am reinforced in that view by what my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General said when we discussed this matter at an earlier stage. He said:People may disagree with me, but I do not see how it would be possible to supervise and enforce the general imposition of conditions which applied to every Commonwealth immigrant without making it necessary for him to report to the police and register his movements like an alien."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 6th February, 1962; Vol. 653, c. 284.]I am sure that the Government do not want to do that with Commonwealth visitors. If there was any case for having the power to limit the length of time 691 a visitor may stay here, my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has destroyed that case by his argument.
I suggest, therefore, that the cleanest and neatest way of doing this is to include the category of visitors in this part of the Clause. If, however, by right hon. Friend has not been persuaded by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, then I suggest that he should put visitors in some other part of the Clause which would have the effect of allowing them to come in if they were bona fide visitors, and, if necessary, subject them to a limitation as to period.
I would prefer not to have that, but I want to try to help my right hon. Friend. He has been helpful to the House, and I think that the draft instructions show that he wants the Bill to be well received, and to be carried out in a humane way that is consistent with our reputation for hospitality. If visitors are excluded from the Bill, we will forfeit that reputation.
§ Mr. Renton
I assure my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that there is no doubt whatever about our desire to continue to welcome genuine visitors, and I am sure that there is no doubt about it in any part of the House. My right hon. Friend feels that this question should be dealt with by the expression "bona fide visitors" being written into the Bill, and has tabled his Amendment to subsection (2). I am sure that he will not mind my pointing out that he has gone very far in doing that, because the effect of it would be, because of the way the Clause is drafted, that a visitor who, prima facie, and for other reasons, might appear to be a genuine visitor, would have to be admitted, even though there were objections on grounds of health, or security, or criminal record.
§ The Amendment as drafted goes rather too far because it removes power to refuse admission to a visitor on those grounds, and also, of course, because my right hon. Friend has attached it to a subsection as to which there is no power to attach conditions, he would prevent a bona fide visitor being admitted subject to a time condition, and, as I understood it, my right hon. Friend attached some importance to the power to admit subject to time conditions.692
§ My right hon. Friend has sought to get round the difficulty in which I think he is placed in attaching his Amendment to subsection (2) by saying that he would like it put anywhere else in the Clause, but then we come up against the further difficulty that the term "bona fide visitor" is, in any event, vague. In spite of what my right hon. Friend said, I hope that I can persuade him that the Clause as drafted, coupled with our draft instructions to the immigration officers, makes clear our desire to welcome visitors, and I say that for this reason. Subsection (3, c) already gives a right of admission to a visitor who has a means of supporting himself. Although it does not use the term "visitors", they are clearly covered by it.
§ Further, the White Paper explains in paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 that a visitor who is coming to see relatives and who will be supported by them should be readily admitted, even though he may not have the means of supporting himself. Further—and this is relevant to what my right hon. Friend said about conditions, and to what my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General said, that he hoped conditions would not become too general—the use of conditions is to be confined to doubtful cases.
§ It is right that we should have conditions available for use in doubtful cases, because the control might otherwise become too stringent. The use of conditions will enable somebody to come in for a period of several months, according to the time limit imposed, and of course during that time he will have the opportunity of applying to the Home Office for removal of the condition, and it will give him the opportunity of removing any doubt that there might have been when he first landed in this country.
§ It is not our intention—and my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General made this clear, as I did on other occasions in Committee—to make the use of conditions general. We intend them to be used only in these relatively few doubtful cases. I therefore do not think that the fears expressed by my right hon. Friend are fully justified. We have considered his point of view, which we respect. We have considered it very carefully indeed. We feel that it would be a 693 mistake to write the expression "bona fide visitor" into the Bill, either in the place provided for in the Amendment or after subsection (3).
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Chapman
I beg to move, in page 2, line 39, to leave out from "there" to "or" in line 43.
As I understand it, this is the stage at which we can discuss the voucher system. The effect of the Amendment would be to remove from subsection (3, a) all the words concerning the issue of vouchers. That leaves us a clear field to ask questions about the system involved in the issue of these vouchers. I understand that the Minister of Labour is to give us some information. I hope that word has gone to him and that by now he is on his way here. It may be that, for once, we are moving more quickly than anybody expected, but that is a good thing, because there is still a lot to get through.
First, I want to state why I have moved the Amendment. I want to explain the principle behind it, even though it is a probing Amendment. Hon. Members on this side of the House object to the Bill, and especially to the system of regulating the flow to Britain of people seeking employment. That is why we wish to leave out all the words in the paragraph after those referring to an immigrant wishing to enter the United Kingdom for the purposes of employment. We believe that that is enough.
I want to develop the reason why we believe that it is enough. A good deal of fear has been expressed by certain people that immigrants come here regardless of the opportunities for employment. The provisions of the Bill, and all the propaganda speeches of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) and others of his opinion, have been based on the hysterical crescendo of fear that several hundred million people from the Commonwealth would descend on Britain if the doors were left open. Nothing could be further from the truth, judged by the historical experience that we have had so far. The facts show that the total number of people coming here has been greatly influenced by the opportunities for employment which they know to exist. They have not come in in vast 694 numbers in years where the employment prospects have been bad.
If we examine the flow of migration into this country in the 1950s we find that the figures began to increase significantly in 1955 and 1956, and then dropped of their own accord in 1957 and 1958, when the credit squeeze was on, and when word was sent back to the West Indies, India and Pakistan, from those already here, that employment opportunities were drying up. The advice sent to those at home was that they should not travel. There is ample evidence to show that migrants do not come here when there are no jobs. That is why we believe that the right way to deal with this situation is to allow the flow to increase and decrease of its own accord. That would be the effect of the Amendment.
It might also be said that we cannot judge this matter in the light of the present situation. Over the weekend it was announced that in the Birmingham area 5,000 coloured migrants are looking for jobs. It is true that the number of unemployed among the coloured migrants has recently increased significantly. It could be argued that my case is disproved by the present situation, in which there are probably more migrants than jobs available for them.
The fact is, however, that what has been happening in recent months is that tens of thousands of migrants have come here in excess of the normal flow because of the hysterical propaganda put out by some hon. Members opposite, which has created the fear that the doors would soon be closed for good. The present flow is not of natural proportions; it has been artificially stimulated by the fear that the doors will close.
I am glad to see that the Minister of Labour has arrived. The experience of his Department in the 1950s must show that until this hysterical propaganda began the flow of immigrants has adjusted itself to the employment opportunities. The present unhappy position, with thousands of immigrants looking for jobs, is clearly explained by the propaganda put forward and the fear that has been aroused by the campaign of the hon. Member for Louth and others.
695 Indeed, it has been said of the hon. Member for Louth that every time he has opened his mouth in the last twelve months another boatload of immigrants has filled up in Jamaica. That is true. I tell the Minister of Labour quite bluntly that the cause of the recent high rate of immigration among coloured people has been the speeches of some of his hon. Friends. They have attracted many thousands of people who would not have come but for the fear that they would very soon no longer have the opportunity of doing so.
Having said that in justification of the principle of the Amendment, I turn to the precise questions I want to ask about the working of the voucher system. The last time we discussed this matter was during the Second Reading debate. I want to ask the Minister of Labour a few questions, based on what he said then. First, he said that there would be three categories of people to whom vouchers would be available. I will take them in order.
First, there are the people who have definite jobs to come to. Of these, the right hon. Gentleman said:We shall issue vouchers to all Commonwealth citizens who have a firm and genuine offer of employment in this country. Our present intention is that the employer who wants to employ a named person in a Commonwealth country will give particulars to my Department. Then, through the Employment Exchange Service, we shall seek any necessary confirmation that a job is available for that person."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 805.]In order properly to appreciate how the system will work it is necessary to ask some questions. First, in cases of known offers and known acceptances of employment, will the Ministry of Labour issue these vouchers to the workers or to the employers? This point raises a number of problems. Hon. Members on this side of the House want to ensure that the worker and not the employer receives the voucher. If the employer receives it he can hawk it round if one applicant does not agree to fill the position offered.
Secondly, how will the voucher be issued? Is the Ministry of Labour to issue these vouchers, or will the High Commissioners' Departments in the 696 various Commonwealth countries do it for the Ministry? Will there be issuing centres for such vouchers in various parts of the Commonwealth? Or does it mean—as it would appear from what we have heard so far—that there will be considerable delays while postal arrangements in all parts of the Commonwealth are co-ordinated in London and vouchers issued here and sent by post to someone in the Commonwealth? I should have thought it almost essential that the Ministry have somebody in the Commonwealth to check on the persons receiving vouchers to see that they were genuine and so on. I must ask what sort of machinery the right hon. Gentleman has in mind, because surely all that cannot be done from London.
Are the Government or the Ministry of Labour proposing to intervene to coordinate recruiting for specific public services in parts of the Commonwealth? I have in mind such services as the National Health Service and hospitals. Is the Ministry to become actively interested in linking up potential workers in the Commonwealth with such public services in this country which are desperately needing labour? And not only in the public services, but, for example, in the nationalised industries.
Already, in Barbados there is a system of direct recruiting operated by the London Transport Executive. Will there be attempts by the Ministry of Labour to get the nationalised industries specifically to "set out their shop", as it were, as has been done in Jamaica, or is it to be left entirely to the nationalised boards and the services to do what they consider right? I think that the Minister will understand what I am getting at.
What is to be done about private industry? Will the Minister set out to interest those private firms which are short of employees in the possibility of direct recruiting in the Commonwealth? Will he offer his services to co-ordinate their activities as groups of firms or industries? We wish to know about the machinery and also about the encouragement which the right hon. Gentleman will give to various kinds of employees in order to make the system work.
The second category consists of people with definite skills. According to the 697 Explanatory and Financial Memorandum to the Bill and what the Minister has said, these people, who will be admitted with vouchers, will have definite skills needed in this country. The right hon. Gentleman said:It will be for the Government to decide from time to time, in the light of employment prospects and needs in this country, what kinds of skill or other qualifications will be covered.The right hon. Gentleman also said:We are also working out with them the best way of handling this type of application."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961: Vol. 649. c. 806].Can the Minister tell us how this will work in parts of the Commonwealth? Does it mean that there must be direct Ministry of Labour agencies which will be appraised of the need in this country for skilled carpenters, for example, and will they have the duty of checking applications by skilled carpenters in Jamaica, for example, for vouchers to come to Britain? Surely someone will have to do some checking if this category system is to work properly, and so we must know the machinery of recruitment of people with definite skills.
The definition of skill in this country is one thing, but in Jamaica it may be something quite different. As I have mentioned before, in Britain the term "mason" has a definite meaning, but in Jamaica the same term is applied to anybody who works in the building trade with bricks or cement. So far as I can judge, there must be quite elaborate machinery for checking on the skill of an applicant and, therefore, we must know a good deal more about how the system will work.
In the last category are people with no skill and with no definite job to come to. Such people are to be admitted to a total, whatever it may be, upon which the Home Secretary decides from time to time. Here there would seem some confusion. Nobody can imagine how this will work. We understand that at any one time—the Home Secretary said it again a short time ago—the right hon. Gentleman will let in unskilled people without jobs depending on the social conditions of the time. In paragraph 20 of the instructions to immigration officers, the last sentence says that persons who require vouchers but have not obtained them are normally to be refused 698 admission. So far as I can understand it, this refers specifically to the balance of people who would come here not possessing any special skill or to do a specific job.
Are we to take it from the statement in the instructions to immigration officers that what might loosely be called the quota balance is not to be admitted freely at the ports subject to who turns up and at the discretion of the immigration officers regarding allowing in a certain number in any one year? Or does it mean that no one, even under the quota balance, will be allowed in unless they have applied for a voucher? This is very important: We wish to know whether anyone can get in if the quota is unfilled, or whether a person must have a voucher before leaving home.
As was asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) on two occasions, how will this work when we get large numbers of applications from different parts of the Commonwealth? If I may be forgiven for saying it, the right hon. Gentleman was rather naïve during the Second Reading debate when he said:The third category of applications consists of people wishing to come and work here but having neither a skill nor a definite job to come to. These people, who are the majority will apply direct to my Department for vouchers.Then there was an interruption by hon. Members who asked "Where?", and the Minister said:The Ministry of Labour, London."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 806.]At the time there was a good deal of laughter. Hon. Members had visions of someone in a remote part of Jamaica writing to the Ministry of Labour saying, "Dear Mr. Hare, I want to come to England. Will you please send me a voucher?" No one can imagine this working in such a simple and direct way. Undoubtedly, if the Government feel restrictive at any one period, we shall find that the number of people who wish to come in of their own accord will be greater than the total number which the Government are prepared to admit. How is it intended to decide on those who shall be admitted? Where is the queue to end?
What does "First come, first served" mean in this context? Does it mean 699 that the people whose letters are opened first at the Ministry of Labour will be allowed in? That would be an utterly stupid way of going about the matter. Suppose the figure were fixed at 20,000 and the first 20,000 letters happened to be from Jamaicans. Does this mean that all the balance from India, Pakistan and other parts of the Commonwealth will not be allowed in? Shall we not almost inevitably need in this sort of system some kind of quota from the main parts of the Commonwealth sending migrants here?
If, for example, after experience the Government say that the flow of people with skills and jobs leaves a balance of 20,000, will they say that they can be let in? I should have thought that inevitably the Government would have to say that on past figures they had better allow in 5,000 Jamaicans, 3,000 Indians, 2,000 Pakistanis, and so on, in order to regulate the system. I cannot think that the right hon. Gentleman meant that when he said that theseapplications will be dealt with and vouchers issued in the order in which they are receivedand thatthe principle of first come, first served."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 806–7.]will be applied. I cannot see it being done on the basis of the number of letters first opened at the Ministry of Labour in London.
This is becoming a very confusing situation. My hon. Friends and I are not alone in asking these questions. I was in Jamaica not many weeks ago. There people were in utter confusion about how this system would work. There had been no effective consultation with Jamaicans about how it could work. I hope that in the interval since Second Reading the right hon. Gentleman has been able to get these very important points quite clear and that he can now explain to us a reasonably foolproof system for this voucher procedure.
Our purpose in proposing this Amendment is not only to probe the intentions of the Minister and to ask about the machinery he wishes to operate. It is also to make our objection in principle to this subsection because we believe 700 that the history of the last ten years has shown that, left to itself, the flow of migrants adjusts itself to employment opportunities in this country. Therefore, it would be much better to leave it to operate in that way in future.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn
I am sure that the whole House is grateful to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) for raising this matter, giving us an opportunity of discussing it and then of hearing the Minister's comments on it.
I depart from the hon. Member in that I think the only practical method of working the Bill is to adopt a system of vouchers. What worries me is the exact method of operation. For the first of the three categories the hon. Member mentioned, how is this labour to be recruited and who is to recruit it? There is the possibility that in the Commonwealth there might well be what I can only describe as a racket in the sale or exchange of vouchers. There is the possibility that independent agencies might be set up with a system whereby vouchers can be bought or exchanged on the assurance of jobs being found here.
The best method may be to do the work through High Commissioners and by publishing lists of jobs, but, as the hon. Member rightly asked, who is to judge of skilled labour? I hope that my right hon. Friend will make some comment on that, because it is a difficult problem. A voucher may be issued in the Commonwealth for a specific job and when the immigrant arrives he may be unable to do that job. Then there would be a complete waste of the voucher and everything connected with it. How many of the balance of labour which is to be allowed to come to this country is to be distributed throughout the Commonwealth? Will it fit in with the various jobs here, or is there to be an arbitrary method laying down that so many will come from an individual Commonwealth country dependent on the number of applicants from that country?
I differ from the hon. Member on one point. It seems absolutely essential that the voucher should be issued long before the Commonwealth immigrant sets foot on the boat. Otherwise, people will be returned because there are not vouchers 701 for them. I hope that my right hon. Friend will tell us how the system is to work, so that it shall be fair to the Commonwealth immigrant and so that he will not have to go through a series of agencies to get a job. It should not only be fair to him, but it should be sure on this side so that industry requiring particular categories of individual can get those categories and not receive immigrants who are quite unsuitable for the job when they arrive.
§ Mr. Laurence Pavitt (Willesden, West)
I share a number of the doubts which have been expressed by the hon. Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn). He made a point which causes many of us anxiety. If vouchers are to be issued we may reach a situation in Commonwealth countries when we have a large number of people chasing a limited supply of vouchers available. The possibility of a racket is very pertinent. We shall have a large number of people anxious to come here and inevitably they will try to find ways and means to get to the top of the queue.
Those of us who have had the good fortune to live in parts of the Far East know the tradition in Government offices that "The files move on silver wheels". The more one looks at the case presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Birhingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) this afternoon the more we understand the Attorney-General and the Home Secretary of State saying, earlier, that it is quite possible that the provisions of the Bill will never be operated. This provision seems too complicated to work at all. I am eagerly waiting to hear the Minister tell us how it can be operated in the light of the points put forward by my hon. Friend. It seems that with this method of vouchers the Government are taking a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.
What kind of consultation has gone on with the managers of Employment Exchanges in constituences such as mine? It is one of the largest receiving areas for immigrants. We have had a record of excellent work on this problem. I echo what my hon. Friend said about the increase of unemployment during the last few months caused by the rush to get into Britain before the Bill closes the gates. The Harlesden Employment Exchange, to which I pay the greatest 702 tribute for the way in which it has handled the flow of one-in-nine immigrants to Britain who have come to Willesden over the last decade, has, in recent months, had to cope with a terrific problem through immigrants trying to get in before the gates are closed.
I wonder whether the Minister has consulted officers like Miss Maclean on the system to be used to integrate people into the labour force in communities such as that in my constituency, where there is a high rate of employment in factories, and in the Central Middlesex Hospital, which would not run for five minutes without the immigrants who have enabled it to keep going. I should like to know whether the Minister has examined other than the voucher system ways and means which would allow him to accept this Amendment.
The techniques which have been employed, the persuasion and ways in which employers' organisations have been co-ordinated and especially consulted, have been of tremendous importance. All this has been thrown on one side. The imposition of this Bill has meant that the good work which has gone on in my constituency for the last ten years has gone entirely to rack and ruin in the last few months. This is a heavy responsibility on the Government, and I hope that the Minister will tell us a little more about the important issues raised by my hon. Friend before we go through the remainder of the Clause.
§ Mr. Gower
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has done a great service in raising the matter in this form. The points which he raised are of substance. On the other hand, he may well be exaggerating some of the difficulties. In the first place, I disagree with him that this problem would best be left to itself and that it would rectify itself through natural causes such as the ebb and flow of employment in this country. I do not think that that is necessarily the case. It is far more likely that, irrespective of the employment level in this country, people would come here not merely from those countries from which they have come in the last few years but also in increasing numbers from other Commonwealth countries.
703 Like the hon. Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn), I feel that the voucher system is probably the best way to deal with this problem, and that the hon. Member for Northfield may have exaggerated the difficulties which will be faced. Let us take a simple example. A certain number of people are required to work as nurses in hospitals. It will not be extremely difficult to find out whether people in certain Commonwealth countries are suitable for that work. Similarly, a certain number are required for work on the railways and other transport systems. Again, I suggest, it will not be an insuperable obstacle, and we should be able to devise a system by which we can recruit the requisite number of people for that work. We already have a certain amount of experience in recruiting for hospitals and transport.
§ Mr. Chapman
I did not say that the obstacles are insuperable. I asked who would do the work. Will the Ministry of Labour provide machinery in the Commonwealth and will it co-ordinate the activities of hospital boards and of nationalised industries, for example? Those are the questions which I am asking.
§ Mr. Gower
I was trying, to the best of my ability, to reply to some questions which the hon. Member posed. I imagine that what I said will also apply to many other categories of trade and occupation. It may well be that in a few limited cases difficulties will arise. The hon. Member referred to one or two cases in which the terminology is different in various Commonwealth countries. For example, the term "mason" has a different meaning here from that in Jamaica. I accept that, but surely those cases are a minority, and in most cases the descriptions of a certain kind of employment are very much the same in most of these countries and the kind of skill which goes with a particular kind of employment is easily identified in each case.
§ Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)
The hon. Member mentioned people employed in hospitals and on the railways. In the instructions issued to the immigration officers by the Home Secretary it will be seen that certain categories of people are exempt from 704 the necessity to have a voucher. One of these categories is persons in the service of a Department of the United Kingdom Government. These persons need not have a voucher. I am sure that we all wish to know whether people in hospitals or in the nationalised enterprises are included within that paragraph.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gower
I do not dispute that statement, although my impression is that such persons would not be in that category because they would be employed not by a Government Department but by a board, which is loosely within the province of a certain Minister but is not a Government Department. Probably that wording is strict.
The hon. Member for Northfield also said that these difficulties are real—I accept that—and he implied that the present position is ideal. If we solve the problems which he posed, as I think we shall, it will be far superior to the somewhat uncontrolled method which we have at the moment, whereby people come here without any kind of tabulation and in many cases without our knowing their qualifications. We know that many of them are unable to obtain employment immediately. At present, a substantial number of them are unemployed.
There was an Answer to a Parliamentary Question a day or two ago on the subject from which I understand that the number of these people who are unemployed is proportionately greater than the number of unemployed people who have been resident in this country permanently. In other words, people who come from Commonwealth countries are the first victims of local or temporary unemployment.
If we have a system by which this is worked out, and if these people are brought into the country in this orderly way, I suggest that it is much more likely that they will be assisted to find jobs which are commensurate with their abilities and in which they have every likelihood of permanent and good employment. To that extent, on balance, this should be a great help to them.
I want to make reference to suggestions which have been made that these vouchers may be bought and sold—and 705 I hope that my hon. Friend noted what other hon. Members have said about this. I sincerely hope that under the arrangements which my right hon. Friend has in mind there will be no possibility of that happening. My hon. Friend the Member for Clapham made the very good suggestion that the High Commissioner's office might be primarily responsible for making these vouchers available in the various countries, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will consider that.
It seems to me that if this were done we could easily evolve a system by which no unauthorised employment agency would deal in these vouchers. That should not be difficult. In other words, a voucher would be issued to a particular person and his name would be on the voucher, and should that person not take up the voucher, there must surely be a system of cancelling it. These vouchers must be non-transferable and non-negotiable. I hope that my right hon. Friend will give that assurance tonight.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. John Hare)
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has been very helpful in giving me a chance to answer a large number of questions which he and other hon. Members opposite, as well as two of my hon. Friends, have put to me. I will try to answer them.
I do not want to take strong issue with the hon. Member on the beginning of his speech. He knows as well as I that the Government felt that they had to take action because of the rise in the number of immigrants during the last three years. It is no use saying that the Bill is simply the result of something said by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made the figures very clear in the House on 6th February. In 1959, the net immigration into the United Kingdom from the rest of the world was estimated at 44,000; in 1960, it was 82,000; and in 1961 it was probably over 160,000. But I will not pursue that point, because the hon. Member fairly said that what he wants is to find out in more detail than I have been able to give since my Second Reading speech the way in which this scheme would work.
706 There are three categories which, for purposes of clarification, I shall call A, B and C. First, in category A are people who have genuine jobs to come to. Secondly, in category B, are those who possess skills or qualifications which would be of particular value to us in Britain. I should like to dwell for a moment on the sort of skills we have in mind, because several hon. Members asked me about this. The kind of people we would include in this category are those with university degrees, or professional qualifications, including teachers and nurses; skilled craftsmen, especially in engineering and building occupations; and draughtsmen and higher technicians. In working out the exact details we must consult with our friends in the Commonwealth, for it would be wrong for us to try to lure away from the Commonwealth skilled men who are essential to the development of their own countries. The third category—category C—will consist of all other people who want to come to this country to take up employment.
For a person in category A—that is someone who has a specific job to go to, and this answers the point raised by the hon. Member for Northfield—we plan that the application for a voucher will be made by the employer to the local office of my Department. I appreciate that the hon. Member for Northfield expressed the fear that employers might try to transfer these vouchers or perhaps juggle them in some way. I can assure him that that cannot happen. We shall normally send the voucher to the employer for forwarding to the man in question. In other words, it will go to the employer with whom the man is to take up work. The employer will then send it overseas to the person concerned. Naturally, that person must come into this country. He will have a passport. That must be produced and his voucher can be checked against it so that there is a double check.
I can assure hon. Gentlemen who are worried—as I am—about this possibility of irresponsible trafficking in vouchers that no vouchers will go to any private agencies. They will normally go to the employer so that we shall have a check that there is a genuine job available for the applicant. Otherwise, we shall send 707 vouchers either direct or through the agency of the Government in the territory concerned.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
If an employer says that he has a vacancy for a certain type of labour and that he wishes to get someone from a part of the Commonwealth, must he state the name of the individual or can he obtain an open voucher?
§ Mr. Grimond
If he cannot, is it the case that he cannot obtain an open voucher under any circumstances?
§ Mr. Hare
An employer could not do that. That answers a further question asked by the hon. Member for North-field, about what we are doing to help recruiting.
The Ministry of Labour has, in suitable circumstances, drawn the attention of employers to the possibility of recruiting suitable labour in territories where it is available. Our advice and assistance will be available to firms who seek our assistance in this matter, and this applies equally to private employers as well.
That covers the issue of vouchers to people in category A. I now come to those in categories B and C. The arrangements applying in each country will depend on the final outcome of the consultations we are having with the Governments concerned, and I can assure hon. Members—and in particular, the hon. Member for Northfield, who was concerned about the consultations with Jamaica—that very detailed consultations are going on. I know that the hon. Member for Northfield was in Jamaica at the time of the Second Reading of the Bill and I can assure him that these consultations have carried us a long way; to the point, I think, where the general picture is clear.
In some countries—and this is the result of consultation and agreement—applications for vouchers will be sent direct by the applicant to my Department in London, as I said on Second Reading. Countries like Barbados, Pakistan and Australia consider that this is the method best suited to their conditions and this is what they have agreed with us.
708 In other countries, they will be sent to the British High Commissioner or the local Government, who will then forward them to London. With possibly a few exceptions, we shall send the vouchers to the High Commissioner or the local Government for forwarding to the applicant. I was asked how this machinery will work and whether it will become too centralised. The answer is that with the help of the High Commissioner, the local Government and the Commonwealth Relations Office we intend to see that we keep in constant touch locally on these matters.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain, since these are to be sent to the High Commissioners, whether special officers will be appointed and attached to the High Commissioners—as is the case with the Board of Trade for the purposes of that Department—and whether there will be an increase in the establishment of the High Commissioners' officers to deal with this matter?
§ Mr. Hare
This is being worked out. There will obviously be some increase in the number of special officers required to deal with this work. We should not be jealous about whether they are appointed to the Ministry of Labour or the Commonwealth Relations Department, for all we want is that an efficient job should be done.
It is by their decisions on the number of vouchers to be issued that the Government will regulate the flow of immigrants. Vouchers will be issued freely to all of those in categories A and B. We intend to regulate the flow by controlling the issue of vouchers for those in category C; that is, those without jobs to come to or without special qualifications. The rate at which vouchers are issued to category C applicants will be that which the Government judge, at any time, to be right having regard to our capacity to absorb immigrants into our national life. Obviously, employment prospects will be one important factor. The housing situation will be another, just as educational facilities, and so on, will have to be considered insofar as they relate to our ability to assimilate and absorb the immigrants who want to come here.
709 The rate at which vouchers are issued will have to be kept under review and will be subject to alteration, perhaps at short notice, as the circumstances change. The House already knows that in the case of category C applicants we propose to work, certainly to begin with, on what we believe to be the fairest principle—that of first come, first served.
§ Mr. Fletcher
This is most important. We understand that there will be no numerical limit for categories A or B, but that there is to be a numerical limit for category C people. Will that be a global limit, or will there be a limit for individual territories? Will it be a monthly limit? Where the figures will be known, will those people wishing to emigrate know what kind of limit will exist for their country so that they will know whether they are to be admitted, say, month by month?
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Hare
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting that question. The hon. Member for Northfield was very anxious that there should not be a global figure. He said that there should be figures territory by territory. We should prefer there to be a global figure, because we think that that is the fairest method—the principle of first come, first served. On the other hand, if the fears which the hon. Gentleman has expressed and which the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) may express if he speaks in a few minutes appear to have foundation, we should—and this is an undertaking I am prepared to give—have to adapt our scheme to deal with them.
§ Mr. Fletcher
But will the figures be published, so that immigrants may know up to what sort of limit they may be able to come?
§ Mr. Hare
That is something which must be considered extremely carefully. I do not think that I would wish to raise 710 people's hopes in that way. On the whole, I think that publication of figures in the way that the hon. Member for Northfield has in mind, country by country, would not be fair. I should like very much to consider the matter.
§ Mr. Chapman
This is a vital point. The Home Secretary's case on the Bill has all the time been that his power to regulate admissions and the total flow is subject to question in the House and that that will be our check on what is going on. How can we ask questions if we do not know what decisions he is making? Someone must tell us how many he is allowing in before we have any parliamentary check on what is going on.
§ Mr. Hare
There is a later Amendment suggesting that this should be dealt with by Statutory Instrument, and I think that it would, perhaps, be more convenient to pursue it at that stage. I have the hon. Gentleman's point, and I can address myself to it when he raises the matter later.
I was talking about the first come, first served principle. There is one exception which we wish to make, namely, that all applicants in category C who can show that they served in Her Majesty's Forces in war will be granted priority in the issue of vouchers. I think that that will be accepted by the House as a reasonable alteration to what we have already proposed.
I think that I have answered just about all the points which have been put to me, but there is one general matter which the House has not, I think, appreciated as it should. I hope that hon. Members have been able to understand from what I have said that the scheme is quite different from the permit scheme for aliens. I am glad to say that it is, in fact, very much more liberal.
Those who come within category A will not be refused entry on the ground that suitable local labour is available, as may be the case with aliens. More important still, categories B and C simply do not exist for aliens. Men and women from the Commonwealth will be able to come here without having first to obtain a job, and, when they are here, there will be no restriction on their changes of employment. In fairness, I think that hon. Members on both sides 711 who have expressed doubts or fears should take that point.
I have tried to answer a number of valuable and useful points. In conclusion, I emphasise that we want to work this out in amity and close consultation with our friends in the Commonwealth. If they would prefer arrangements to work slightly differently, as I have explained they do in regard to the sending in of applications, then we should fit in with their wishes so long as we were convinced that such variations would not damage the purpose behind our scheme.
§ Mr. Chapman
Will the Minister answer the question which we put in regard to category B? How will the skills which people profess be checked before the vouchers are issued?
§ Mr. Grimond
We are all grateful to the Minister for giving us at this stage, although rather belatedly, some further information about how he sees the system working. However, after listening to him I cannot help thinking that the system will be a good deal more complicated than he believes. It will involve a considerable increase in staff, it will lead to a great many anomalies and give rise to a considerable feeling of injustice—and all this for a Bill which the Government themselves say will be in force for only a comparatively short time.
The Minister said that people in categories A and B would be allowed in without quota. Earlier, I understood him to say, with reference to category A, that he was anxious not to entice people with skills away from countries which wanted those skills and that he would have consultations on the matter with the Commonwealth Governments concerned. Does this mean that, if a Commonwealth country said that it could not spare any doctors, for instance, the Bill would be used as a method of preventing doctors from coming from that country to this? The House should 712 be clear about this. There are issues of personal liberty and freedom involved in the Bill which require the closest examination.
I simply do not visualise how the system will work for category C. I do not begin to understand it. On "D Day", as I understand it, the race will begin from all over the Commonwealth. That is an exaggeration, I agree, but it gives a picture of what will happen.
§ Mr. Grimond
It will be like a competition where entries are received on Monday morning, and people will begin to apply. I simply do not understand the process by which this will be dealt with by the Ministry of Labour, the Commonwealth Relations Office, or whoever it will be. I do not believe that it will be literally first come, first served.
From our own experience, we know what happens when this sort of thing starts. Many people write in just because they always write in on Sundays, anyway. We all have that experience. Although I am exaggerating, I do not think that what I suggest is all that for from reality. Many people will say, "I might want to go, so I will put in an application". Who is to check these things and decide which are genuine and which are not?
At the next stage, as I understand it, the Minister will see how it all works. If it turns out that the first 20,000 all come from one country and he thinks that this is unfair, he will alter it. But on what basis will he alter it? What criteria will he take into account? On what basis will the quota from Pakistan, India or the West Indies be fixed? The House has a right to know. I believe that it has a right to know the answer to the question put by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) about the total numbers the Government will allow in.
Then, as I understand, we come to a further stage. The Government, presumably, will say that, for one reason or another, we can take in a few more. This is not to be a once for all operation, as I understand. They may say, "This month, or this quarter, we can take in some more". Are people then to be asked to apply again? Will all 713 those who failed to get in have to do it all again, and will they be told how many more places there are available? Is the whole thing to be started again from scratch with no one knowing how many will be accepted or whether they must apply again?
I feel genuinely unhappy about it and, while I appreciate that the Minister has done his best to set some of our fears at rest, I hope that he will take another opportunity during the passage of the Bill to tell us a little more about how he sees the scheme working.
§ Mr. C. Royle
I apologise because circumstances over which I have no control prevented me from hearing the debate until the Minister made his speech. I did hear the Minister and I listened very carefully. Unlike the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), who said that he felt unhappy as a result of what the right hon. Gentleman has told us, I am terrified. During our discussions on the Bill, we have felt that, bit by bit and day after day, we were approaching nearer to a liberal application.
When the Home Secretary published his draft regulations or draft suggestions for immigration officers, some of us felt that things were moving and that there had been a great deal of improvement since Second Reading. What the right hon. Gentleman has told us now presents a terrifying situation. The position, as I see it now, is that, instead of there being a more liberal application, there will be many fewer immigrants coming here than was envisaged during the course of our earlier discussions, for the reason that the machinery, as expounded by the right hon. Gentleman, is so difficult that I cannot see how people will be able to get here.
Let us picture the situation. Suppose an employer in London wants two people for very manual tasks, such as sweeping up a factory, and he proposes to obtain them from the Commonwealth. He has to make application to the right hon. Gentleman, who, in turn, will make representation to some agency in the Commonwealth. Can we believe that employers in London will go through all that machinery in order to get one or two manual workers? It seems to me that we shall, because of this very elaborate machinery, more and more 714 bring down the number of immigrants who will be admitted into this country. Has the right hon. Gentleman asked the Commonwealth Governments involved whether they are in fact setting up machinery at their end to work with his Department? It seems to me that there has been no adequate step in that direction, and that there is lack of co-ordination between the Ministry of Labour here and the Commonwealth Governments.
During his speech, the right hon. Gentleman used the word "agencies". I should like to know a little more about what he has in mind. This is a very worrying situation. Agencies could arise which would be exploiting people from the Commonwealth. A rumour is going round that certain agencies are in existence in this country which are agreeing to arrange for the passage of immigrants on the basis of a 40 per cent. interest payment on the passage money.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn
I raised this point with my right hon. Friend, and he gave a categorical assurance to me that that would not take place.
§ Mr. Chapman
That is not the issue. There could be legitimate activity by private employment agencies putting employers here in touch with workers in the Commonwealth countries to facilitate the procedure, but charging fantastic rates of interest and creating a great deal of exploitation.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. What does not facilitate procedure is when we have an intervention upon an intervention upon an intervention.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Royle
My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has helped me very much indeed. I obviously accept an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman, but what he said does not reassure me that the situation will toe absolutely safe for immigrants. Perhaps he will allow me to impress upon him the necessity for very great care in this matter. We should hate 715 to feel that there was "farming" of immigrants coming into this country, many of whom have no knowledge of matters of this kind. They could easily be rooked by people who do not seem to have very fine feelings about these things.
Under this system, the employer will go to the Minister and the Minister in turn passes on his application to the Commonwealth countries involved. They in turn will find the people for the employer who has made application to the Minister. I think that the right hon. Gentleman on Second Reading said that application would be made to the Ministry of Labour in London. That now seems to be changing. The immigrant does not apply to the Minister of Labour, St. James's Square; it is the employer who makes application.
§ Mr. Hare
I think the hon. Gentleman has muddled up what is happening under category A. Category A is where an employer has a job and he knows of a chap in the Commonwealth who will fill it. The employer goes to the Ministry of Labour and makes application. This does not apply to categories B and C because these immigrants do not have specific jobs and are coming here either because of their skills or because they are in the certain categories.
§ Mr. Royle
Perhaps the wisest thing would be for me to read what the right hon. Gentleman has said to try to get it clear, but by the time we have reached tomorrow morning we shall be too late to make complaints here. Since it appears to some of us that this is not very clear, I hope that opportunities will be given in another place for a full discussion of this question. In the light of what the Minister has said, there may well be a desire to move Amendments on this matter in another place.
I finish where I started. This matter is very complicated. It does not seem to be the liberal application of the Bill as we were expecting it to be, and I am sure that the difficulties of potential immigrants from the Commonwealth will be very much increased by what the right hon. Gentleman has said.
§ Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)
The House will sympathise with the difficulties of the hon. Member for 716 Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle). It is difficult to follow this matter just as these things are thrown at one, however carefully my right hon. Friend explains them. Many of us are picking up these things as we go along and I am sure that we are at one in trying to follow them as closely as we can.
The hon. Member based much of his criticism upon the belief that these categories were an extremely complicated set-up, but I wonder whether that is so. He said that if we wanted to employ someone in a menial capacity—sweeping up was the example he used—we would have to go through an elaborate process of writing to my right hon. Friend, and so on.
However, I ask him to consider the employment of aliens. If one wants to employ Italians in some form of horticulture, one applies to the Ministry of Labour and the application is placed before the appropriate advisory committee, quite properly including trade union representatives, and only then can one get the Italians employed. What I am saying is that a roughly similar scheme is now in operation and it does not seem to deter employers from seeking this type of labour. I appreciate that there are differences between that scheme and that to which we have just listened.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
Of course they are our people and I am not equating the two for a moment. I am only seeking to show that there are already such apparently complicated arrangements which work adequately. That may apply in this case.
I understood my right hon. Friend to say that there was a subsequent Amendment upon which he was proposing to deal more fully not only with the point raised with the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), about whether it was advisable to give a total overall figure, but also whether the figure should be given country by country and not globally. I realise that there are major ramificatons and I do not want to pursue the matter now, if only because I hope that I have understood my right hon. Friend rightly.
My hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn)—and I should 717 like to say to my right hon. Friend that the hon. Member for Clapham sits on this side of the House; my right hon. Friend pointed firmly to the other side when describing him; I hope that matrimony has not upset my hon. Friend's sense of balance—spoke about category B persons. As the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party said, for the first time we have a measure of control over the export of skilled labour from Commonwealth countries. This is a major factor and I differ slightly from the right hon. Gentleman and suggest that this is a positive advantage to some of the Commonwealth countries. One of the representations which I have been receiving from some of my friends in underdeveloped Commonwealth countries is that they feel slightly aggrieved that we are taking too many of their skilled men, and they welcome the Bill on those grounds. I realise that the view of the right hon. Gentleman was slightly different.
§ Mr. Grimond
I fully appreciate that those countries want to retain their skilled labour and have a good case for doing so. But this is not a matter to be slipped into a Bill about immigration into this country. We do not want two Governments to be able to get together behind the scenes and make an important restriction on the freedom of movement and personal liberty.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I take the point and I think that it has been extremely helpful that it has been brought out in this discussion.
One of the examples quoted has been that of doctors, but we must remember that most doctors from the Commonwealth will be coming for training rather than employment, although that does not for a moment detract from our present reliance upon Commonwealth doctors in our medical service, to which one can repeatedly refer with gratitude. I hope that my point about the conservation of skilled labour in underdeveloped countries will be a point in favour of these regulations.
§ Mr. Ede
When I intervened earlier, the Home Secretary suggested that I should make my remarks when the Minister of Labour was present to answer me. The first point about which I want to be clear is at what stage there 718 is direct contact between the employer and the employee. As I followed what the right hon. Gentleman said, there would be no direct contact—certainly not with category C and possibly not with category B—until the immigrant's arrival. Prior to that, all transactions would be in writing.
The employer would notify the Ministry of Labour that he had a vacancy. The Ministry would see whether that was the sort of vacancy which it thought ought to be filled by an immigrant, and if it was, it would then communicate, either with the Commonwealth Government concerned or some agency in the Commonwealth territory—I am not sure from what the right hon. Gentleman said—which would see whether it could find somebody who appeared to fit the bill. If it thought so, the voucher would ultimately reach the Commonwealth citizen who would be admitted here. Only then would the employer and the employee meet for the first time.
That seems to be a very risky way of engaging labour. It reminds me of the terrible fate of Anne of Cleves, who was married by proxy to Henry VIII on the strength of a portrait by Holbein. When Henry VIII saw the lady, he said that she was not up to sample and he got Parliament to declare that she was his sister, he made her a duchess and gave her a pension of £3,000 a year. I read an account of the Reformation, written by a Catholic priest, in which he said that Anne of Cleves was the only woman whom Henry VIII made permanently happy.
It is not a slight thing to bring an immigrant 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 miles or more to this country, of whose climate he knows nothing and to an employer he has not seen.
§ Mr. Ede
We have no evidence at all about what Anne of Cleves thought when she saw the husband. The circumstances can be very amusing, but they can be very tragic. Those of us who sometimes have complaints in our constituencies and in our domestic circles about persons who are sent from the right hon. Gentleman's employment exchanges to fill particular jobs know what personal difficulties can arise.
719 I am still not sure exactly what sort of quota system the right hon. Gentleman has in mind. As I understand it, he will make a survey of the labour needs of this country and will conclude how many of them are in categories B and C and can be filled by persons already in the country, possibly by moving them from one area to another. There will then be a balance in some certain professions which he will think suitable to be filled from the Commonwealth. He will issue the vouchers in accordance with that number on the principle of first come, first served.
For how long will the period operate? Will we have a number who can be admitted during a month, a quarter or a year? Suppose that a voucher is sent to a man in the Commonwealth and he takes time to decide. There may be a delay of, perhaps, a month or two from his first getting in touch with the agency that has sent his name forward. For how long will the voucher be valid? The voucher will be issued for a job which is in existence, but a man may decide when he gets the voucher not to take it up.
I am reminded of what was said by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). I had the misfortune to serve on a bench of magistrates that met on a Monday. All the Sunday evening domestic quarrels were brought before the court on the Monday, by which time the woman hoped that she would not have to go on with the proceedings. People apply for some of these things and some of them will not take them up. For how long will a voucher operate and what steps will be taken for the Minister to be able to feel that no employee will come in answer to a voucher? In working these things out, that will be a serious matter. I understand that the quota will not be of the kind that operated in times gone by in the United States, when there was a list of countries against each of which was a number of people who could be admitted during the period for which the list remained current.
What steps will the Minister take to ensure that as between one Commonwealth 720 country and another, a fair distribution of the available vacancies is made? If for some reason people from a certain country do not want to fill the number of vacancies that the right hon. Gentleman allocates in a scheme of fair distribution which he, at least, is prepared to accept, serious difficulties can be caused.
I understand that the matter about which I was worried earlier does not now arise. No person in categories B and C will leave their homes wisely unless they have a voucher from the Minister of Labour. Therefore, there will be no question of three persons turning up for the last job. People will have a voucher and if they care to come, they will be admitted. They will proceed to the employer in question—
§ Mr. Hare
Under category B, people will get a voucher if they have certain skills. In category C, they will have neither skills nor a certain job to which to go, but they will be allowed into the country, just as they are now, subject to the quota laid down. They will not have jobs guaranteed for them, just as they do not have them now.
§ Mr. Ede
For the first time, the right hon. Gentleman has used the word "quota" in a connection which makes it possible to understand his meaning. Are there to be X,000 jobs for, say, unskilled labourers in the building trade, with people coming in under either category B or category C—[Interruption] When the Home Office has briefed the Minister of Labour, I will continue, but I do not want to get either Department into trouble.
From the explanation now given, I understand that in category C the men will come here and will not know whether there is a job. We would not expect to be told the number tonight, but a number of people will be admitted in the hope that, somehow or other, it will work out all right in the end.
§ Mr. Ede
No. From the frequency with which he always tries to explain to us what the Minister means, I know that the hon. Member thinks that he should be sitting on the Front, Bench, but I hope that I may be allowed to get my information about the Government's intentions direct from them and not from one of their well-wishers.
When the numbers are announced, as, I assume, they will be, to what extent will they be divided into different trades and occupations and have regard to the large number of people in this country who describe themselves as general labourers, who are frequently employed on buildings, at docksides and at other places? How far will this House know? How far will the employers know?
How far will the people in the Commonwealth know what the numbers are and the trades to which they relate, so that there can be assurance that if a man leaves a Commonwealth country to travel 4,000, 6,000 or 12,000 miles to get here, he will at an early stage be face to face with an employer who will be able to satisfy his requirements? If, when he has come here—I thought that he would come with a voucher—
§ Mr. Fletcher
The Minister has just said that an immigrant will have a voucher to come here, but will not have the promise of a job until he gets here.
§ Mr. Ede
He will not stay here for ever. All sorts of pension schemes settle that.
722 I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the questions I have put are questions which ought to be answered in the House before we part with the Amendment. I am more and more convinced as the debate goes on that there is every evidence that the Government did not enter on this policy with any enthusiasm. They know that they have been forced into it by people who are not favouring us with their presence this evening and the sooner they realise that the best thing they can do is to drop the whole scheme the better for all concerned.
§ Mr. M. Foot
The Minister of Labour has had a bad time since he spoke. Almost everyone who has spoken has said that the situation is considerably worse after the speech than it was before. My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) said that he had thought that we were getting a few elements of liberality and an occasional gleam of light into the Bill but that when the Minister spoke we were back in a worse position than before. I entirely agree with him. As the right hon. Gentleman sat down I was reminded of those lines of Pope:Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restor'd;Light dies before thy uncreating word;Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall,And universal darkness buries all.The speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has shown the muddle into which the Government have got the whole situation. It is a serious matter, because this is a serious part of the Bill.
The Minister of Labour got out of part of his difficulty when he was asked what the arrangements would be in different countries by saying blithely, to show his flexibility of mind, that they would be different in each country. Apparently they are and the Minister does not know what they will be. This only shows, as we have always said, that there were no proper consultations before the Bill was introduced. Then when the Government started to have consultations they had no idea how to work out the voucher scheme, and now they are working it out in a different sense in each country.
It may cause great grievances in different parts of the Commonwealth if it is found, for example, that different 723 methods operate in Australia and Canada compared with other parts. Before they introduced the Bill, the Government should have had consultations on the general idea of the Bill and they should have had some idea of the mechanism by which it would be operated before they ever started on it.
The Minister of Labour has also failed to give us any information about the actual numbers, either the total, or the numbers in different categories who will be permitted to come in. As far as I can see from what the Minister said, the Government will have to work out, first, how many people are coming in under categories A and B before they can ever say how many will be allowed in under category C. Has the Minister's Department made any calculations of how many people they think will come from each territory under categories A and B? Will the Minister tell us what those calculations are and what conception the Government have of the numbers, over and above those who are able to come in anyhow under categories A and B, will be allowed in?
The Minister said clearly that anybody under category A or category B will be able to obtain a voucher. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will not be able to start on this process of deciding how many can be allocated to category C until he has solved the problem of categories A and B, if the Government's concern is about the total number coming in. It will not be applications received by first post on a Monday but six months hence that will count, because the other figures have to be worked out first.
The Government say that they are concerned about the totals now coming in, and they say that they will let them in under categories A and B irrespective of numbers. Supposing that those numbers proved to be very much comparable with the total coming into the country now, then presumably that would curtail greatly the numbers to come in under category C. I do not see how anyone can get round this. If the Government decide the numbers to be allowed in under category C at the same time as they allow people in under categories A and B, they will not know the total they 724 will have in the end. If they do not know that, then they will be restricting the total to a number that they think desirable.
It is a hoax on the House to say that we should go through the motions of dealing with this Bill without telling us the actual figures that the Government have in mind. It would be proper also if we were told the figures as applied to each territory, and, indeed, to each trade. If the Government had worked out the Bill in detail we could have been told all this. When my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) put a question to the Minister of Labour about numbers the right hon. Gentleman scratched his head as if that was the first he had heard of it, but it is one of the things which has been consistently raised throughout the debate on the Bill.
The Government's declared purpose is that they want to deal with numbers, but they will not tell us what the numbers are. That is why we say that we are not given any ground for voting them the powers for which they ask, because they will not tell us what they intend to do with those powers. Even now, at this late stage, the best solution for the Government, of course, is to get rid of the Bill, but we shall not be able to persuade them to do that.
There is another thing that the Minister can do to get out of this trouble. I am not the only one who is muddled, and I am not, I hope, the simplest person in the House. There are some who are more easily muddled than I am, and some of the incisive minds opposite might also well be muddled. Everybody who considers what the Minister said today is even more muddled than he was before the Minister started to speak.
The Home Secretary, who also got us into a muddle on the Bill on a previous occasion, got himself out of it partially by saying, "I will go away and think about it again and I will publish the instructions which I shall give to the immigration officers." The right hon. Gentleman got himself out of a hole and improved the Bill in the process.
I suggest to the Minister of Labour quite seriously that he should produce a White Paper comparable with the one which the Home Secretary has produced on the instructions given to immigration 725 officers. He should let us debate it just as we were able to debate those instructions. He has a few days before we discuss the Bill next week, and if he cannot produce the White Paper in that time he should ask the Leader of the House to postpone the discussion, which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would agree to do. Hosts of questions have been put by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields and my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West which obviously we shall not have answered in this debate.
Does the Minister think it satisfactory that we should agree to something which will affect hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth without the House knowing what it has passed? I ask him to produce next week the document which I have suggested. In fact it will be more important for him to produce it than it was for the Home Secretary to produce his, because this will affect many more people. The right hon. Gentleman will have to publish one in the end to explain to people in the Commonwealth how they can still come into this country under the voucher system. Why does he not show it to the House of Commons first? That is a perfectly reasonable demand.
§ Mr. Fletcher
As my right hon. and hon. Friends have pointed out, the Minister of Labour has left the House in complete muddle and confusion. We were told in earlier debates that we would get the facts about the voucher system from the right hon. Gentleman. We have been waiting day after day, almost breathless with expectation, to hear a clear account from him. Instead, we have had a muddled and confused statement. We cannot pass on from this Amendment without knowing the facts. It is no use the right hon. Gentleman saying that there is another Amendment to be dealt with later. Under the Guillotine procedure it is doubtful if it will be reached.
We want to know clearly the answers to the following questions. Is there to be a numerical quota for people in category C, or will that quota be determined by the numbers who come in under categories A and B? It must be one or the other. Either there can be a numerical quota from time to time 726 for all those who have a voucher, or anybody can come in under categories A and B, and there will, in addition, be a certain amount of unskilled labour. That would be reasonable, because the unskilled labour would not be dependent upon the numbers of those with skills.
We are told that the Government want to control immigration and will do it by regulating unskilled labour. Is that to be regulated month by month? The right hon. Gentleman must know. Or will a limit be placed quarter by quarter? Can he give us the figures now? If he cannot, when will they be published? If there is to be a numerical quota, under the principle "first come, first served", with, say, a limit of 20,000 a month, and if quite a large number come from Ireland, will these Irish reduce the number of those eligible to come from the West Indies? Or does it mean that there will be one limit for those from Ireland, another for those from Pakistan and another for those from the West Indies, and so on?
We must know the answers to these questions. Immigrants from overseas want to know so that they can make their plans. Are they all to be encouraged to apply as soon as the quota is announced, or are they to be left in doubt? I do not want to repeat what others have said, but we must press for more information than the right hon. Gentleman has given up to now.
§ Mr. Chapman
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that the Minister of Labour will reply to this discussion, after which I would like an opportunity, as mover of the Amendment, to say a few words. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman intended to speak before you put the Question.
§ Mr. Hare
I would like to try to answer some of the points which have been raised. I do not want to detain the House too long, however. I hope that, on that understanding, I will be allowed to say something in answer to some of the questions which have been put to me and also to the "leg-pulling" 727 of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot).
The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) asked whether there is to be a numerical quota for category C. There will be. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale also asked how, unless we can measure the quantities of people coming in through categories A and B, we can work out how many there should be under category C. The short answer is that, if one examines the immigration figures over the last few years, it is clear that there will not be large numbers of people coming in under categories A and B. Judging by the figures of the last five, six or seven years, the vast majority will come in under category C.
The hon. Member for Islington, East asked if we are going to publish these figures. He also wanted to know whether the quotas will be assessed on a monthly or a quarterly basis. What is involved is the laying down of a rate which may be altered from time to time. I cannot say now whether it will be altered month by month or quarter by quarter. We must be guided by the considerations I stated earlier, such as the employment and housing situations and the availability of educational facilities—whether we will be able to give these new inhabitants the services which we want them to have. These are the considerations which will affect our decisions.
§ Mr. Fletcher
Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that the figures may have to be varied month by month? Will the country be told what they are, whatever the conditions?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has exhausted his right to speak, except by leave of the House.
§ Mr. Chapman
I would like the permission of the House, as I moved the Amendment and the main reply was to me.
§ Mr. Chapman
I think that I have that leave, judging from the silence that followed your remarks, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I have tried throughout the Bill to show that, while we are working under a Guillotine, it is up to every hon. Member to speak as briefly as possible. If these comments go on record, perhaps the Minister of Labour will attend to them. He knows that I have taken a good deal of interest in the Bill.
It is a bit much for him to tell the House that elaborate consultations have been going on. My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) and I were with the main Jamaican officials a month ago and they had not a clue as to how this part of the Bill would be operated. There has not been proper consultation. Everyone in the Commonwealth is in utter confusion as to how it may be worked. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will check on the point which arose as a result of a remark about the activities of employment agencies.
The grave danger that is arising throughout the Commonwealth is that mushroom agencies are being set up with, if one likes, the legitimate aim of putting in touch with each other prospective employers in this country and prospective employees in the Commonwealth. But there is no restriction on them and the terms they can offer, or on the bait which they can use to get the traffic established. This will lead to a lot of undesirable activity unless we guard against it in the Bill, or unless the Minister at least says that if it becomes an abuse he will take powers to check what is going on.
The astounding thing that has come out of this discussion is the amount of work which the right hon. Gentleman is now pushing on to Commonwealth Governments. It means that many Commonwealth Governments will now have to set up agencies to sift applicants in their own countries. Many of them will almost be recruiters for special skills. After all, if it is announced that particular skills are to be allowed to come here, it will be the Governments in Jamaica and elsewhere which will have to make proper arrangements for their people who have those skills to be able to 729 obtain vouchers and to be put in touch with the Ministry of Labour here. This is putting a quite fantastic burden on many Commonwealth countries.
Everyone who has listened to the right hon. Gentleman has been utterly confused by the situation about the final quota of unskilled people. This will be a chaotic situation. If the right hon. Gentleman says that, on the day the Bill becomes law, it is up to people to put in their applications for vouchers, he will find that tens of thousands from the West Indies alone will say, "We had better put our applications in now, because, by the time we have saved up enough for the fare, the voucher may come through". The right hon. Gentleman should consider carefully whether the system of having an unskilled balance in category C will work at all.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ It is a most confusing situation. I should like to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his courtesy in replying to all our points, but I must warn him that we are bound to force this Amendment to a Division, first, on the principle which we set out at the beginning of the debate, and, secondly, and equally important now, for the reason that we believe that, despite his very valiant efforts to help us, this whole system is so surrounded by confusion that we must register our protest in the Division Lobby.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 192, Noes 131.731
|Division No. 102.]||AYES||[8.1 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Fisher, Nigel||Lindsay, Sir Martin|
|Aitken, W. T.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Allason, James||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Longbottom, Charles|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Gammans, Lady||Longden, Gilbert|
|Barlow, Sir John||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Barter, John||Gilmour, Sir John||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Batsford, Brian||Glover, Sir Douglas||McAdden, Stephen|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Goodhart, Philip||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Biffen, John||Goodhew, Victor||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Gough, Frederick||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||MacPherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Brume-Arton, A.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.||Maddan, Martin|
|Box, Donald||Green, Alan||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gresham Cooke, R.||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Braine, Bernard||Gurden, Harold||Marshall, Douglas|
|Brooman-White, R.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marten, Neil|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Bryan, Paul||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mawby, Ray|
|Buck, Antony||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Bullard, Denys||Hay, John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Erie||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mills, Stratton|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Hiley, Joseph||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Morgan, William|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Morrison, John|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Holland, Philip||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Collard, Richard||Hopkins, Alan||Neave, Airey|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornby, R. P.||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Costain, A. P.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Coulson, Michael||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Hutchinson, Michael Clark||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Critchley, Julian||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Partridge, E.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Peet, John|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Percival, Ian|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|de Ferrantl, Basil||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Doughty, Charles||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pott, Percivall|
|du Cann, Edward||Kershaw, Anthony||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Kimball, Marcus||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Kirk, Peter||Pym, Francis|
|Elliott, R. W (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Kitson, Timothy||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Ramsden, James|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Leather, E. H. C.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Fair, John||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Talbot, John E.||Walder, David|
|Renton, David||Tapsell, Peter||Walker, Peter|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wall, Patrick|
|Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Temple, John M.||Webster David|
|Russell, Ronald||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Sharples, Richard||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Whitelaw, William|
|Shaw, M.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Smithers Peter||Turner, Colin||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Woollam, John|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Worsley, Marcus|
|Stanley, Hon. Richard||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Vane, W. M. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||Mr. Gordon Campbell and|
|Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Mr. McLaren.|
|Ainsley, William||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oram, A. E.|
|Albu, Austen||Hayman, F. H.||Owen, Will|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Padley, W. E.|
|Baird, John||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, w.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Bence, Cyril||Hilton, A. v.||Parker, John|
|Benson, Sir George||Houghton, Douglas||Paton, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Peart, Frederick|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Bowles, Frank||Hunter, A. E.||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Boyden, James||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Randall, Harry|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Callaghan, James||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, William|
|Chapman, Donald||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Short, Edward|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Kenyon, Clifford||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Key, Rt. Hon. c. W.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||King, Dr. Horace||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lawson, George||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Deer, George||Ledger, Ron||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Dempsey, James||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Small, William|
|Diamond, John||Lipton, Marcus||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Dodds, Norman||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Driberg, Tom||MacColl, James||Steele, Thomas|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||McInnes, James||Stonehouse, John|
|Edwards, Robert (Button)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Evans, Albert||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Manuel, A. C.||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mapp, Charles||Thornton, Ernest|
|Forman, J. C.||Mason, Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mayhew, Christopher||Warbey, William|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mellish, R. J.||Weitzman, David|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Mendelson, J. J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Millan, Bruce||Willey, Frederick|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Milne, Edward||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Mitchison, G. R.||Woof, Robert|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Monslow, Walter||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Hannan, William||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Cronin and Mr. Ifor Davies.|
§ Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 43, after "Ireland" to insert:and that in respect of his abode he is the person described in a current voucher issued for the purposes of this section by or on behalf of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government certifying that such abode is available and fit for habitation".During the Second Reading debate, the Minister of Labour said this:… I do not think that it would be right for us to sit back and allow Commonwealth citizens to come into this country in vastly 732 increased numbers unless we are satisfied that reasonable living conditions are available for them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 16th November. 1961; Vol. 649, c. 807.]On 6th December, the Home Secretary said that one of the reasons for the introduction of the Bill was "the grim housing conditions", and he went on to say that we wantedto balance the inflow with the sincere efforts we are making to improve housing conditions.…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1432.]733 The object of this Amendment is to elicit from the Government exactly what the Minister of Labour and the Home Secretary meant in making those statements.
On a previous Amendment, the Minister of Labour said that in determining the rate of issue of labour vouchers the housing situation, among other factors, will be taken into account. I wish to know how the housing situation will be taken into account and what positive action the Government have in mind, not only in preventing the housing situation from becoming worse, but in ensuring that the immigrants with labour vouchers will be guaranteed not only a job, but a decent roof over their heads.
The problem concerning immigration is housing. Housing difficulties represent well over 90 per cent. of the problem with which the Government are trying to deal in the Bill. But unless the Government have some regard to housing immigrants as well as to guaranteeing them jobs when they get here, the situation is likely to get worse. The problem stems from the Government's reluctance to tackle the organising of industry and employment and coordinating the provision of jobs with the provision of homes.
It is not sufficient to provide a person coming here with a job unless he has a reasonable prospect of being housed. We who represent London constituencies know the difficulties only too well. Immigrants in London cannot possibly qualify to be housed by local authorities in the area—possibly this applies to the provincial areas as well—for many years, because already there are 80,000 people on the L.C.C. housing list. Therefore, this is not a problem with which local authorities can possibly cope.
As I have said, the purpose of the Amendment is to find out what the Government propose to do about the housing problem and how the housing situation will be taken into account in deciding how many labour vouchers and other vouchers should be issued. It is not as though the Government were not made aware of this problem many years ago. I remember suggesting to the then Colonial Secretary in 1954 that he should call a conference of local authorities concerned with this matter to discuss 734 what could best be done to cope with the problem and the difficulties created by immigration into one or two special areas. The Government did nothing about it because the problem affected only a number of areas in which there was either a Labour council in control or a Labour Member of Parliament.
It was not, therefore, a problem in which the Government of 1954 were interested. It was only when more vociferous cries went up from areas in which there was either a Conservative local authority or where the area was represented by a Conservative Member of Parliament that the Government decided that something should be clone about the matter and proceeded to introduce this unfortunate Bill.
A suggestion which I put forward in October, 1954, was turned down. My local authority, the Lambeth Borough Council, sent a deputation to the Colonial Office in January, 1955, which suggested that immigrants should be dispersed to places where the housing problem was not as great as it was in London and where jobs were available. Our suggestion was turned down. No notice was taken of it.
The grievance which we expressed then remains our grievance now. It is this. The question of the entry of immigrants to this country and their dispersal to areas where they can be absorbed is one for solution at national level and should not be left, as it has been left for the past seven years, to the inadequate resources of the few areas affected by a concentration of immigrants. The Government feel that they have a responsibility for ensuring that jobs are available for immigrants, but I should like to know their attitude to housing the people who will continue to come here under the Bill.
That is our object in putting forward the Amendment. It is vitally important that we should know what the Government have in mind. In London, and possibly in other provincial centres, there has been, as a result of the Rent Act, gross over-valuation of derelict or semislum properties which immigrants are having to buy because there is no other way of providing themselves with accommodation. Some white estate agents and property owners are making a good thing 735 out of specialising—and many of them are specialising in this traffic—in the sale to immigrants of short-lease property and dilapidated property which immediately becomes overcrowded because the purchaser of it, naturally, wishes to get his money back as quickly as possible and to pay off the mortgage.
It would have been better if we could encourage the immigration of employers into the less crowded areas of this country where the housing of the additional labour required would not constitute such a great problem. But in deciding the allocation of labour vouchers, I should like to know whether the Government, in considering to what extent the housing situation must be taken into account, will give preference, for example, to a firm in an area where the housing situation is not acute and where jobs are available.
Those are some of the questions about which we should like to know a little more, and that is why the Amendment has been tabled. I will not try to deploy all the arguments and considerations that come into this difficult problem because I promised to be brief, and I hope that other hon. Members who take part in the discussion will follow my example. Nevertheless, we expect a specific reply, and specific undertakings from the Government in relation to what is the core of the problem, namely, the housing of immigrants.
§ Mr. Norman Pannell (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I agree with the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) that the housing problem is the greatest one that we have to deal with in relation to immigration. I recognise the difficulties of amending the Bill to provide housing accommodation in the manner suggested by the hon. Gentleman, but the purpose of my rising is to emphasise one aspect of this matter which I think should be put on record.
When the Conservative Government came into office in 1951 they were committed to a house-building programme of 300,000 houses a year. I assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that I have no desire to make a party point, or to compare this record with that of the Socialist Government from 1945 to 1951. But the fact remains, and it is fully recognised. 736 that house building between 1929 and 1951 was inadequate, partly because of the war, and partly because of the aftermath of war.
When that programme was fixed by the Conservative Government they had in mind an increase in population—I am talking only of England and Wales—of roughly 150,000 a year. This figure was confirmed in the succeeding years, and my authority for this is the Report of the Ministry of Health for 1960, which has recently been published. In 1952, the increase in population in England and Wales was 140,000. It varied slightly from then on, until in 1955 it amounted to 167,000.
A dramatic change occurred from 1955 onwards. This was because up to 1955 there had been net emigration from this country, but from that date the situation was reversed and more people entered the country than left it. The increase in population was due not only to that, but because the birth rate increased by more than had been anticipated, so that in 1956, instead of the average increase of 150,000, on which the housing programme had been based, the figure rose to 226,000. These figures are taken to June of each year. In the period ended June, 1960, the increase for the year amounted to 369,000, and the Report of the Ministry of Health shows that that figure included 108,000 due to the net figure of immigration over emigration.
Due partly to an increase in the birth rate, but chiefly to an increase in immigration over emigration, the population, in the last five years, instead of rising by the expected 150,000 per year, rose by well over 300,000 a year. It is obvious that if a policy has been devised to cater for a population rise of 150,000 a year it must be thrown out of gear if the population rises by 369,000 a year.
That postulates a need for houses for an extra 200,000 people a year, or 70,000 houses. That is not related in this case to the figure of 300,000 houses a year, because the figures that I have given are for England and Wales, and the building programme for England and Wales was roughly 250,000 houses a year. If, by virtue of immigration, there is a need to step up the housing programme by 70,000 houses a year and 737 this is not done, obviously there will be great difficulty in housing people.
§ Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)
The hon. Gentleman said that the increase was not due entirely to immigration. If he then says that the net increase is due to immigration, he is making his argument illogical, apart from distorting the facts.
§ Mr. Pannell
I am willing to amend to this extent. The figure for the excess of births over deaths, the natural increase, was estimated to be 180,000 in 1951. In the meantime, it has risen to 250,000. I concede that the excess of 70,000 is due to an increase in the birth rate, but I am not talking about this increase. I am talking about an increase of over 200,000 compared with the figure ten years ago, and since the figures that I have given are those up to June, 1960, and immigration has been at a higher level since then, reaching a peak of 136,000 in 1961 compared with only 58,000 in 1960, it is clear that the situation has further deteriorated.
As the hon. Member for Brixton said, the deterioration is most pronounced in our great cities where these immigrants congregate. It is useless to say that the Housing Act of 1961 solves this problem by giving local authorities power to deal with these multi-occupied houses. If local authorities intervene, they must cause a reduction in the number of people housed, and no local authority will evict people without providing alternative accommodation. The result is that those who have been on the housing list for years—and in Liverpool there are now 43,000 families on the housing list—naturally show great resentment if new houses provided by the local authority are allocated to immigrants who have been in the area for only a few years.
I do not want to say any more than that. It pinpoints one facet of this problem, and although I support the argument of the hon. Member for Brixton, I am prepared to wait for the answer of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary before I decide whether I can support the hon. Gentleman in the Lobby.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Evans
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) seemed to be telling the House that the Government's housing programme had 738 got out of gear because of certain factors. The Government have been in office for ten years, and if their housing programme has got out of gear I suggest that it is about time they revised it to meet the present need.
§ The Amendment is designed to press the Government to face their responsibility for housing those who share our common citizenship and come here from other parts of the Commonwealth. In effect, it tells the Government, "You are responsible, and you cannot evade your responsibility for housing these people." Only the Government have the power to tackle this problem.
§ During the last half hour the Minister of Labour has told us of the elaborate arrangements made for a voucher system to permit members of the Commonwealth to stay here. From what he said it is evident that we need these people to do vital jobs. We cannot run our hospitals without them; we cannot build houses without them, or run our railways. We need this flow of people from the Commonwealth and we are glad to have them here. But if we bring them here to do these essential and often menial tasks we must see that they are adequately housed.
§ The Home Secretary cannot shrug off this side of the problem and confine himself to the movement of immigrants, indicating that housing is not his concern. The Bill is his, and he must know that as the flow of people from the Commonwealth continues it is essential for the Government to see that they are adequately housed. Hon. Members on this side of the House have some basic objections to the Bill, which I shall not mention here because it would not be in order for me to do so. I shall not elaborate our fundamental objection to the Bill, which is that it discriminates on grounds of colour.
§ Leaving aside that fundamental consideration, it is clear that the Bill seeks to control the movement into this country of those from the Commonwealth, and its basic defect is that it fails to tackle the problem of housing these people. It is pathetic to see these people arriving at our railway stations, carrying their bags and limping round begging to be taken into this house or that. I raised this matter four years ago, but the Government, with all their power, 739 have done nothing about it. If something had been done then the Bill would not be necessary now.
§ It is the friction caused by overcrowding and bad housing that has forced many people to demand that some control should be placed upon immigration. We know that these folk concentrate in certain places. London has 40 per cent. of the inflow, and some parts of London have an even greater concentration. This has meant the creation of racial friction between people who have been established here for years and the newcomers. In street after street in my constituency there is bad feeling, racial friction, and hard words. That is the first thing that we must attend to. If we bring about racial friction by allowing these people to enter the country without providing for their housing, we are doing a bad thing; we are striking at the very basis of our multiracial Commonwealth. It is because the Government have neglected the appalling housing conditions in our urban centres that this friction has arisen between people of different colour.
§ The bad housing situation is magnified in the minds of these people when they see a person of a different colour being suitably housed while they cannot find satisfactory accommodation. The Government must take steps to allay the racial friction which arises from inadequate and bad housing. The Home Secretary knows that in recent years arrangements have existed between overseas countries and this country regarding housing facilities. At one time there was an arrangement with Cyprus to enable some attempt to be made to keep a check on the housing facilities available for people coming from Cyprus.
§ I do not know whether the same thing applied in relation to Malta and Pakistan. The arrangements which did exist enabled us to provide to some extent for newcomers and to ensure that they were given adequate shelter. Have these arrangements collapsed? Are the Government maintaining or improving them? Are the Government doing nothing at all? Are the Government taking no action to deal with the danger of the friction arising from inadequate 740 housing facilities in great centres of population in this country? I think that those are fair questions which it is necessary to answer.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary will be able to tell us about the schemes which were operated and which may still operate. If the Government cannot accept the Amendment, at least the House should be told that the situation will be examined to see what better arrangements may be made with overseas countries and the appropriate Government Departments in order that something may be done to lessen the tension to which I have referred.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn
The House should be grateful to the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) for bringing this subject to the notice of hon. Members. There are many who agree that the fundamental problem regarding immigration is not one of colour, but of housing. I do not propose to follow the general argument on the shortage of housing except to say that I do not consider that this provision is practical. In the face of the present housing shortage it would tend to eliminate immigration almost entirely. The necessary certificates could not be issued because of the lack of housing in the great cities. We all know that the only answer to the housing problem there is to increase the density figure and provide more houses.
The hon. Member for Brixton represents the neighbouring constituency to mine and we share this problem. A great deal of friction arises through shortage of housing accommodation. When people come from overseas there arises a feeling of jealousy among the original inhabitants of an area, because it is thought that the newcomers are taking accommodation for which they have waited for a number of years.
Many estate agents take advantage of the fact that people from overseas are prepared to purchase short-leases. They know that the liabilities which will arise at the conclusion of the lease will not be undertaken by these people, and that they can easily be moved out. Very considerable overcrowding is caused in some areas. It is no use looking to the local councils to provide more housing accommodation, because to do so would merely increase the housing shortage somewhere else.
741 Possibly one of the answers to this problem, apart from the general housing situation, is for the Minister to make sure that when the immigrants come he will operate some form of dispersal so that they are not directed to areas where already there is a housing shortage. I know that is difficult because most of the jobs are in big cities, but it is a point worthy of consideration and I hope he will have something to say on it. By means of dispersal I think that we could reduce the heat of racial tension in the main cities.
§ Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, Central)
I start the short speech I wish to make by saying immediately that I do not believe in any restrictions on members of the Commonwealth coming to this country, but the Government who have introduced this Bill have to face some of its implications. We have been told for many years since the Government have been in power that they have dealt with the housing situation of this country. Eventually they have agreed that there are pockets in some places where there are difficulties.
What we have to put to the Government and to the Minister who is to reply to this debate is that many local authorities are facing racial difficulties because of the shortage of houses. In my constituency a welfare officer was appointed, a very intelligent gentleman, a coloured man, who had served in south London. He was appointed in an attempt to smooth the way and to eradicate some of the difficulties, but, as has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) and others, the main difficulty which arises is that coloured families particularly, because they are more distinguishable, and Irishmen as well, are taking large houses with short-leases, buying them from unscrupulous estate agents and landlords who are prepared to exact the highest prices they possibly can.
So far as I am concerned, private landlords are an anachronism. We do not want them; there should be no private landlords. They are taking advantage of this situation. When these people move in those who have lived in those areas for many years are aggrieved because those from overseas are moving in while they themselves live in terrible conditions. Those who have lived in the 742 areas for many years are not necessarily aware that those moving into these old houses are also living in bad conditions.
If the Government make provision for people to come to this country and impose conditions that they must have vouchers and must have a job to come to, surely there is a responsibility on the Government to ensure that those people have somewhere to lay their heads when they have finished doing essential work in the hospitals, on the buses, or in the difficult tasks which face those who have to recruit labour in places such as London.
It might be thought that we are trying to impose further restrictions on the entry of colonial people to this country, but that it not so at all. The purpose of the Amendment is to place at the doors of the Government responsibility for ensuring reasonably decent conditions for people who contribute to the social development of the country. It is no good saying that local authorities should bear this responsibility. I have a problem in my area similar to that of many other areas represented by hon. Members. We have a waiting list of 6,000 after all these years of Conservative inactivity. Those people are still waiting. We cannot absorb the people who will come into these areas. We say to the Government, "Surely if you are taking steps to ensure that the people coming into the country have employment, you should devise some scheme whereby you ensure that their families have a roof over their heads. Surely that is elementary."
What is happening under the Bill is that private landlords have found a further market in which they can get high prices for their property in the towns. We and the Government must take cognisance of the new situation which has arisen as a consequence of the influx of colonial immigrants. My hon. Friend the Member for Brixton is naturally concerned, as he has been over a number of years, about the spectacle of people who come into this country and who, as my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. A. Evans) said, stand at railway stations on arrival with nowhere to go. Eventually they find a place. We want the Government to tell us what they intend 743 to do when they let these people come into the country.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke)
This is one of the most realistic debates we have had on the Bill, and we should be grateful to the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) for having initiated it. The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. H. Butler) said that this Amendment must not be taken as adding further restrictions, but of course it does. If we read it in its plain meaning in English, it says that an immigrant must not only have a labour voucher but alsothat in respect to his abode he is the person described in a currentaccommodation voucher. In other words, he must have not only a labour voucher but an accommodation voucher before he can come into the country—two restrictions instead of one. I see the motive behind the Amendment very clearly.
On Second Reading my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that we had examined the point very carefully but that the consequences of making restrictions of this sort would be unbelievably and unsupportably dictatorial. What would accommodation certificates of this kind mean? My right hon. Friend said,We do not think that such a control could be operated without intolerable supervision and regimentation. To follow an immigrant moving from place to place in this country would be almost impossible. Also, this would be a power in excess of what we use in dealing with aliens."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 648, c. 695.]There is, of course, grave objection in principle to the control of movement within this country through a sort of domiciliary control to see that somebody stays in a certain place or in a certain dwelling.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
It follows inevitably that if we have an accommodation certificate and a system by which someone can enter the country only if he has a bed in which to sleep at a certain place, he must be compelled to stay there 744 for at least one night, otherwise the whole control becomes a farce.
§ Mr. Lipton
In connection with the labour vouchers, the Minister is not insisting that the man who takes the job in question shall stay in it for the rest of his life, nor do we insist in respect of the housing certificate that he should stay in the house for the rest of his natural life.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
If a man has a job he will almost certainly stay in it for a reasonable time. The majority of people stay in their jobs for a reasonable length of time, and I think that nobody would suggest that Commonwealth immigrants change their jobs immediately they arrive. They accept the responsibility of the job for a reasonable time in the same way as does anyone else. For that reason I think that the two things are not parallel, because if all that is required is a bed for one night, then it is clear that the control would be a farce. Moreover, it would require a great deal of policing, which would be an infringement of our liberty.
I was asked about the Cyprus housing and immigration schemes. I am told that they broke down because almost immediately the addresses were provided to the Cyprus authorities—who would issue passports only if there was an address to go to—those addresses were found to be not "houses of pass", a phrase which I understand has a technical meaning, but mere accommodation addresses. The system broke down almost at once. It is for reasons such as this that one cannot adopt a system of control based on a person's residence. Once we start to do that we shall find ourselves in deep water.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
The alternative is a control of immigration at the ports in the way we have adopted.
It seems to be the general desire of hon. Members that we should disperse immigrants, and both my hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brixton asked what we intended to do about this. The answer is that one cannot disperse them forcibly. All one can do once the immigrants are here 745 is to treat them as one would treat ordinary citizens and rely on such methods as are available, such as the Local Employment Act, the general planning provisions and all the other means one uses to try to disperse industry generally.
The idea that the Government could take measures internally, other than those of persuasion, to disperse immigrants to various parts of the country to which they do not wish to go is, I suggest, quite impossible when analysed.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
It has already been pointed out that anyone who can show that he has a job to come to can have a labour voucher, but I would certainly not wish to say that these vouchers will provide a good means of dispersal. As I say, anyone is entitled to a labour voucher if he can show that he has a job to come to, but I should not like to mislead hon. Members by saying that one could rely on the voucher system for the purpose of dispersing immigrants.
Once it is admitted that this is an immigration control, we must rely—and I think the hon. Member for Brixton showed some assent to this—on the general provisions which apply to ourselves as well as to those who come in from outside for the dispersal of industry. There is no special means, other than that of persuasion and welfare, which we can rely upon to treat these people separately from anyone else once they are in this country.
I would remind the House that my right hon. Friend has taken the opportunity of the Bill, as he announced on a previous occasion, to set up a Welfare Advisory Council which will advise him particularly on questions of housing and accommodation. There still are, I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. A. Evans), several excellent voluntary bodies doing this work—several immigrants housing associations—but nevertheless a real problem remains.
We are conscious that immigrants like to congregate in certain not very numerous but very concentrated areas, and that is why the names on the Notice Paper appear to this Amendment. They 746 go to certain areas—the capital City, Birmingham, the Midlands and, to a lesser extent, Lancashire.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
The jobs are not only in those areas but in other places as well. Yet, for obvious social reasons, because they may feel strangers in a strange land, they prefer to congregate where those who have come before them have gone. We cannot forcibly prevent that. All we can do is to see that the total numbers coming in are manageable, rely on the various welfare organisations we hope to see developed and at the same time try to persuade them that by congregating in the way they do they create—as the hon. Member for Islington, South-West said—the sort of racial frictions which it is the objectives of all hon. Members to avoid and which, I believe, the Bill will do something to avoid in the future.
§ Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)
We are dismayed at the hon. and learned Gentleman's reply. It has been admitted on both sides of the House that the main problem of immigration is, in essence, a housing problem. Hon. Members on both sides have said that that is the main cause of the uneasiness and hostility which exists in certain areas. There is no substantial difficulty about employment. There may just now be a slight increase in unemployment among coloured immigrants, but, taken as a whole, this is not an employment problem. Moreover, it is not fundamentally an immigration problem. Immigration has simply aggravated difficulties which already exist.
Today, particularly in certain areas, there are more jobs than there are houses. This is the result of Government policy and industrial and labour planning. When we ask what they intend to do about it, we are told nothing. The Government propose to rely on certain voluntary organisations. The Home Secretary will have an advisory committee to give him advice about the housing of immigrants. What sort of advice? We already know what the situation is. We are aware of most of the facts. It is not a matter of advice. The question to be answered is what do the Government propose to do not 747 merely for immigrants, but also for the citizens of the country as a whole? What remedy for the disparity do they propose?
I do not deny that the Amendment as drafted presents difficulties of application, but the hon. and learned Gentleman's reply exposed the fraudulent attitude of the Government behind the Bill. What they suggest will not deal with the problem at all. It is no more than a piece of glorified eye-wash. The Bill may make it more difficult for some immigrants to come in or contact an employer, but if the jobs are there people will come as they do now, and if the jobs are not there they will not come.
One hon. Member opposite spoke about the increase in house building since 1951. What he did not say was that one of the reasons for the increase is the increased labour force, and a very large part of that greater labour force is composed of immigrant labour, including, in the first place, immigrant labour from Ireland. Let us not forget that. It is calculated that in some areas 50 per cent. to 80 per cent. of the labour employed in house building, in building generally and in civil engineering is immigrant labour of one sort or another.
So we have this dilemma. We want the people in to do the jobs. We want them in to build the houses. But we are not prepared to make any provision so that houses will be there for them. The disparity still exists. We are completely dissatisfied with what the Minister has told us about the Government's intentions.
There have been references to the last Housing Act. Under that Act, insufficient powers have been given to local authorities in areas which are overcrowded and subject, as my own constituency in Birmingham is, to the rackets which have already been mentioned to deal with the problems which are created because the rights of the landlord are considered far more important than the rights of either the immigrants or, for that matter, the people of Birmingham or any other place which suffers in the same way.
I believe that one way to relieve the problem of gross overcrowding is municipal ownership of houses in the twilight areas. Where that has been done in 748 Birmingham it has been an effective method of dealing with the problem. But when we ask for rights—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member is going very wide of the Amendment now, even by way of illustration.
It may not be directly on the Amendment itself, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but it is connected with the powers sought by the Amendment. However, I shall not pursue the matter.
The necessary rights and powers were denied by the Government. Now, the Government and some hon. Members opposite are trying to make political capital out of what is happening, in some cases stirring up hatred by exploiting a situation for which they, to a large extent, are themselves responsible through the Rent Act and the inadequate powers which have been given to local authorities.
The Government have promised nothing. They have shown no desire to deal with the housing problem, and we are very grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) for raising the matter and exposing to the House the bankruptcy of the Government's policy in regard to the Bill
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ This Amendment was discussed in Committee and normally one might have felt that it was inappropriate to take up time in discussing it again, when we are so rushed for time. Since the discussion in Committee there has been considerably more information available to the House as to what paragraph (b) means and how it is to be interpreted, because we now have the passage in the draft instructions to immigration officers, which deals with students.
§ Quite an amount of space is taken up in the draft instructions in pointing out to the immigration officers that it is intended to allow free entry to people who are coming here for the purpose of attending courses of study. It goes on to discuss the possibility that someone may pretend that he is coming here for that purpose when, in fact, he is merely trying to get employment without having a labour voucher. That may be true. If it 749 is true, such a person is not eligible to be admitted under this subsection.
§ The subsection deals only with people who are coming here for the purpose of attending a course of study. My complaint is that, having established that principle, the question of whether or not immigrants are coming here for whole-time or part-time study is not relevant. The important question is whether they are genuinely coming here for the purpose of study at a university, college, school or other institution. Apparently, a correspondence course is not in itself a course of study. The interesting part comes when one looks at what is meant by the word "substantial". What gloss is put on the word "substantial" in the draft instructions?
Paragraph 12 states:
The time that a student should be required to devote to his studies cannot be precisely defined. For example, those taking a degree or post-graduate courses may spend little time in attendance at lectures, and much time in individual study".
§ It is a very interesting little sentence. I think that it shows that the Home Secretary's conscience began to prick him. I very much doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman spent much time attending courses of study. He was much too able and academic to worry himself with that kind of thing.
§ Sir Kenneth Pickthorn (Carlton)
Not at all. It is quite untrue. I know all about it. He got all the instruction that he could get.
§ Mr. MacColl
That may be so, but I am sure that when the right hon. Gentleman addressed his superiors he stood on his feet, unlike the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn).
I suspect that this is a piece of intellectual snobbery. Why should it be the established and accepted view that to take a degree at a university means that one studies on one's own, but that if one is working for a Higher National Certificate at a polytechnic or technical college, and doing much of the work with one's hands, or studying at home, or in a public library, or anywhere where one can find somewhere to study, going only to the colleges for specific courses, one may find difficulty about establishing that one is spending a substantial amount of time attending courses? 750 The regulations go on:In general, it may be taken as a working rule that a student is to be regarded as devoting 'a substantial part' of his time to his studies if he spends at least 15 hours a week in the prescribed study of a single subject or related subjects.From where does this figure of 15 hours come? It was first used in Committee and is now embodied in this sacred text. It is a very large amount of time.
Assuming a course of study for five days a week, that is three hours a day and I suspect that that is more than many people who have had an expensive education have spent in study of a subject. I very much doubt whether I spent as much as 15 hours a week with two tutorials and one lecture a day. I suspect that there are many people who study for degrees who do not spend anything like 15 hours a week on the course. Why should the figure of 15 hours be enshrined in the instructions?
Has the right hon. Gentleman consulted the polytechnics and technical college about the normal amount of time spent in study in the colleges? There must be many people studying at polytechnics for important qualifications who study for 10 hours or less and do not reach the 15 hours. The regulations add:The fact that a student wishes to engage in paid part-time or vacational employment in order to finance his studies is not a bar to his admission as a student.I welcome that.
I should also mention that the instructions say that many people may be allowed over here by means of an entry certificate. I do not know whether I can raise questions about the entry certificate, which is mentioned in the instructions but not in the Bill. I had an Amendment on the Notice Paper in Committee dealing with this matter and although these proposals do not go as far as my suggestion, in the circumstances I do not wish to move the Amendment which I have tabled, for to do so would be to waste time.
Some people have been somewhat fearful about the idea of an entry certificate on the ground that the light of criticism would not shine as brightly on what happens in the countries of residence as it would on refusals made here. It is believed that there is a danger of the countries concerned having stricter 751 interpretations of qualifications than would happen if everything were done here, with hon. Members knowing what was going on.
If an entry certificate is issued, will it be issued to people who show that they hope to obtain university entrance or a higher certificate, to obtain a job which will enable them to do a sandwich course as part of their technical studies or to keep themselves by working to some extent while hoping to obtain a grant somewhere? Will information be given about all these complicated variations to people who issue the entry certificates?
I profoundly pity the immigration officers. It is extraordinarily difficult to see how an immigration officer can steer his way through all the educational niceties about the different types of course, the different facilities available in different parts of the country, the kind of qualifications which people will need within the Commonwealth and so on. In Committee, I suggested the setting up of an educational advisory committee to act as a focus for information of this sort. The Home Secretary was not keen on the idea and said that he would rely on the British Council. The British Council is an admirable body in dealing with a specialist problem, but it does not deal with the wide scatter of students who come to this country.
The fact that the right hon. Gentleman said that he would rely on the British Council frightened me. It made me think that he would take a rather conventional view of the kind of way in which people become students. We must recognise that this country is the educational centre of the Commonwealth and that all who have the drive and energy to study and get qualifications should be allowed to "chance their arm" and have a try.
I know that tragedies occur, and that some people have a sense of failure, but none of us would suggest that somebody who might be told that he was not qualified should not be allowed to have a try and show that he can do it rather than accept somebody else's judgment. It is a characteristic reaction of anybody who is young to want to come and try, even if it is suggested that he is not up to it. People would feel frustrated if they wanted to come here to obtain qualifications with which they could 752 serve their country but were prevented from coming by the rather narrow, conventional outlook of immigration officers and respectable people of that sort. I hope that the Home Secretary can assure us that the regulations will be interpreted liberally and humanely.
§ Mr. Chapman
My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) has moved the Amendment so well and so comprehensively that we can all be brief. I want, however, to ask a question about paragraph 13 of the draft instructions to immigration officers. Am I right in interpreting it to mean that an immigration officer will have a good deal of discretion in allowing entry to students who might not do as much as 15 hours a week? Paragraph 13 states that it may not bepossible to establish the precise number of hoursand that a student should be admitted if the immigration officer is satisfied that his principal object is study. If the Home Secretary will assure us that the business of the 15 hours will not be rigidly interpreted, but will be subject to broad interpretation in paragraph 13, I shall feel much happier.
There are about 30,000 Commonwealth students in this country. The figures can be variously interpreted, but they are of that order. No difficulty arises in ensuring that most of them will be readily admitted under the Bill. Six thousand at universities will easily get in. Two thousand seven hundred at Inns of Court will easily get in. Teacher training is easily identified and another 5,600 in nursing will be easily identified. Practical training of various kinds with private firms would be readily identified as a course of study and private colleges, accounting for another 2,600, can be easily assessed at the ports. But the one that really worries me, and it is such a large figure, is the 7,000 or 8,000 out of the total of 30,000 which is the number of those who go to technical colleges when they arrive here.
It worries me more when one breaks down this total of 7,000 or 8,000 to find out what it is they come here to study. It is roughly of this order of magnitude—that about 2,000 come to study for the G.C.E., 600 to study architecture and building, and 2,000 to study engineering. 753 The thing that stands out immediately in these three categories is the number who will probably be studying on a part-time basis in the evenings, particularly building and for the G.C.E., after their day's work.
This is further borne out if one examines, for example, the number of Commonwealth students who go to specific technical colleges in the London area. One has only to examine the geographical concentration to realise the large number of part-time evening students who will be studying almost as an addition to their work rather than coming here primarily, and, above all, to study.
This is the borderline where I am worried about the interpretation of the instructions. I ask the Home Secretary most categorically to give us an assurance about that kind of student who is here on a fifty-fifty basis both of work and study and may not be doing 15 hours' study a week. I am worried about those students because they already constitute such a large proportion of the Commonwealth students in the country. I hope that the Home Secretary will see to it that paragraph 13 of the instructions is liberally interpreted to ensure that these people can continue to come into the country.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I wish to support the Amendment, and I hope that the Home Secretary will bear in mind what has been said. Some congratulatory remarks have been made about certain aspects of the White Paper containing the draft instructions, but I feel that this section dealing with students is open to serious objections. It has emerged from our debates that of all the classes of immigrants who will suffer from the Bill it is the technical students who come from the Commonwealth for part-time education who are likely to be penalised the most.
§ The Amendment has been tabled primarily to delete the word "substantial" from the text of the Bill, but also, as my hon. Friends have indicated, to enable paragraphs in the White Paper to be modified. I hope that the Home Secretary will accept the Amendment and also that he will revise this section of the White Paper. Surely it is a shortsighted policy to place any handicap in the way not only of these young persons 754 who come here from the Commonwealth principally for the purpose of study but also in the way of those who come here partly for the purpose of study. The most serious offence in paragraph 13 is the requirement that the immigrant must satisfy the immigration officer that his principal object in coming to the United Kingdom is to study. It will be very difficult for a great many genuine, deserving part-time students to satisfy that requirement, because experience shows that they come here partly to study and partly to earn their living.
§ If, therefore, this instruction is to be interpreted strictly by the immigration officers these young people will not be able to say that they come here principally to study. In this connection, I remind the Home Secretary of the present position. Some figures have been given and I have also ascertained some. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise, for example, that none of the 1,000 Commonwealth students at the Kennington College of Commerce enrolled for courses before they reached this country and that very few have jobs of the sort that can be arranged in advance or sufficient private means to live on?
§ There are those who immigrate primarily to work in order to earn their living but also with a view to attending evening courses if they can. If they cannot do that, then very often they have to take correspondence courses. I do not think that it is necessary for the Home Secretary to exclude correspondence courses as a course of study, as is suggested in the instructions. Not only Commonwealth students but quite a number of British people have benefited very sensibly from correspondence courses.
§ The genuine student very often has to put up with a correspondence course, and very often does very well, whether he comes from the Commonwealth or not. Surely there is no need to be so doctrinaire as to exclude correspondence courses as a serious piece of student work. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has said, 15 hours a week is a great deal to expect even of some full-time students, let alone those who also have to earn their living.
§ A great number of these people render considerable technical service to this country after attending these courses of 755 study. Some arrive here as unskilled workers but, as a result of education, become skilled. This is the class of person who should be given every possible encouragement. In this respect, the Home Secretary's instructions are less humane, less liberal and less sensible than anywhere else, and we hope that the Amendment will be accepted.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
We discussed this matter at the end of one day in Committee, but I think it reasonable that it should be raised again in the way in which it has been raised by hon. Members. The figures given by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) are quite correct. I have the total figures here. The total numbers come to 35,729, which, to use his words—which are not pure English—are broken down in the way he described as between universities, technical colleges, the inns of court, teacher training colleges and the nursing profession. In nursing there are 7,991, in practical training some 5,000 and in technical colleges some 7,946. That gives a clear idea to the House of what the problem is.
We always intended that students should be well treated in coming to this country, and I must say that, although I have studied the previous speech of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) about the Kennington Commercial College, as it interested me very much, I do not accept his generalisation that students will suffer most. I think it will be found that, as a result of the instructions we are giving immigration officers, students will be able to come here as freely as they have before, and that, taking the various schemes together, which I will now shortly describe to the House so that we make progress on other matters, students will not suffer but are going to be encouraged to come here.
We want to welcome students from the Commonwealth. We always had a scheme like this in mind. In response to representations in Committee we drafted the Amendment which now forms Clause 2 (3, b) in order to write into the Statute the desire to bring in students. As I said in Committee, it is almost impossible to draft the word "student in legal form. That is why we published the in- 756 structions to the immigration officers and why the two must be read together.
That is why also I would like to appeal to the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) not to press the Amendment, because I do not accept the belief that omitting this word will make any difference. I think personally that we should leave the Statute as drafted, interpret the instructions liberally and keep the House informed as to our progress in our policy towards students. While I am very glad to have this tag upon which to hang a speech, I do not believe that the word makes very much difference to the policy which we propose to carry out.
Hon. Members will see from paragraphs 9 and 10 of the White Paper which we have just published that there should be no trouble over the admission of those who come for any sort of full-time study. We have also arranged that anyone could be allowed to come here as a genuine student proposing to do 15 hours work a week in study.
§ Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
May I put this point to the right hon. Gentleman? Many of these people who come over here are anxious to qualify because provision is not available to them in their own country. They have to go out to work very largely because they can neither get a grant from us nor from their home country. I have a case at the moment in which a boy wants to qualify to enter the building trade, but he can neither get a grant from Nigeria nor can the get one here, so that he has to go to work.
§ Mr. Butler
The question of grants is not covered by this Bill, which simply relates to entry, but this question of grants fits into something else which I wanted to say. If a student obtains a voucher, which I am sure he would be able to get from any firm with which he wanted to be apprenticed, he would be able to earn his living that way and indulge in a student's life of study, to which the hon. Member for Islington, East referred. I think he would be covered in that way.
The hon. Member for Widnes, from his wide academic experience, not so fully supported by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn), referred to the weakness of the 15-hour 757 a week provision in the Bill. I should like to say in answer to my hon. Friend on this side of the House that he was my tutor at Cambridge and that it is quite legitimate that he should make remarks about myself as a pupil. I fully accept this, as I had to accept it when sitting under him at Cambridge. It is nothing new, and I am quite used to it. That is why I am now where I am.
The hon. Member for Widnes referred to the provision of fifteen hours as being an artificial limit. When I mentioned it in Committee, I saw a few shrugs. As I promised to take account of what was said in Committee, we drafted this instruction in much more reasonable terms, I hope, by saying:It may well not be possible to establish precisely how many hours work a student will devote to his studies; and the student should be admitted (even though it is not possible to establish the precise number of hours) if the Immigration Officer is satisfied that his principal object in coming to the United Kingdom is to study, and not to obtain employment for which he would otherwise need a Ministry of Labour voucher.The discretion has to be undertaken and decided by the immigration officer that a student can be allowed to come in when study is the preponderating feature. On the other hand, if he comes in for work he must apply for a voucher.
The hon. Member for Widnes referred to the entry certificate, and I should like to answer him on that point. The entry certificate procedure will be open to all groups of people who want to avail themselves of it, but we attach particular importance to the entry certificate procedure for students. All that a student will have to do is to get in touch with one of our posts abroad and there obtain an entry certificate. A genuine student can then count on being admitted by the immigration officer, even though he has not yet arranged a definite course of study. Those responsible for issuing his entry certificate will, I assure the House, apply the same tests as are indicated in the White Paper.
We propose to circulate these tests for the guidance of those who are choosing the students. They will wish to be satisfied that the individual proposes to attend a course of study, as we have defined it, and the White Paper indicates that our posts abroad will keep in close touch with overseas authorities, and by 758 the word "authorities" it is meant overseas colleges, technical colleges perhaps, universities or other centres of learning or instruction, so that a genuine student can be more easily identified.
We have been in touch with some Governments—I will not mention them by name—who are not keen that it should be a Government matter. We agree, but as we wish to see students encouraged, we think we should be in touch with the authorities looking after them and know whether or not they are genuine students, when an entry certificate is applied for. I am sure that satisfactory arrangements can be made and worked out with the authorities in the Commonwealth.
The one reservation which I must make in relation to technical colleges is in paragraph 14 of the White Paper, which states:Paragraph 9… does not apply to persons coming as apprentices or as trainees in factories or other commercial undertakings. Normally these persons will be expected to have obtained Ministry of Labour vouchers. But some will come to this country under officially sponsored schemes"—this is the answer to the point of the hon. Member for Widnes about sandwich courses—and they should be admitted on documentary evidence of sponsorship being furnished to an Immigration Officer.It therefore comes to this, that a student, if in doubt, should obtain an entry certificate, which assures him entry here subject to the reasonable conditions imposed, backed by an authority in his or her own country of an educational character or simply with our own authority as representing the Government—whichever he likes. That will ensure entry to this country.
Secondly, if a student is in doubt and wishes simply to be an apprentice or to spend a few casual hours at a technical college at night, my advice to the student would be that he should obtain a voucher. I am convinced that he could obtain a voucher either for a job or for his skill. If he does not want to entertain either possibility—an entry certificate or a voucher—he still can arrive on these shores and have the chance of being accepted by the immigration officer on the basis of paragraph 13 of the White Paper. I assure the Committee, in response to what the hon. Member 759 for Northfield said, that that will be liberally administered. I hope that hon. Members will accept that it is our desire to have genuine students in this country.
§ Question put, That "a substantial" stand part of the Bill:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 192, Noes 129.761
|Division No. 103.]||AYES||[9.34 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Morgan, William|
|Aitken, W. T.||Goodhart, Philip||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Allason, James||Goodhew, Victor||Neave, Airey|
|Arbuthnot, John||Gough, Frederick||Nugent, Sir Richard|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Green, Alan||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Barter, John||Gresham Cooke R.||Partridge, E.|
|Batsford, Brian||Gurden, Harold||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Peel, John|
|Bell, Ronald||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Percival, Ian|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pickthorn Sir Kenneth|
|Biffen, John||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Pott, Percivall|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hastings, Stephen||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Brume-Arton, A.||Hiley, Joseph||Pym, Francis|
|Box, Donald||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Braine, Bernard||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ramsden, James|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Holland, Philip||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Brooman-White, R.||Hopkins, Alan||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hornby, R. P.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Renton, David|
|Bryan, Paul||Hughes-Young, Michael||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Buck, Antony||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Bullard, Denys||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Russell, Ronald|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Jackson, John||Sharples, Richard|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Shaw, M.|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Jennings, J. C.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Smithers, Peter|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Collard, Richard||Kimball, Marcus||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Cooke, Robert||Kirk, Peter||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Corfield, F. V.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Costain, A. P.||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Teeling, William|
|Coulson, Michael||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Temple, John M.|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Litchfield, Capt. John||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Critchley, Julian||Longbottom, Charles||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Longden, Gilbert||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Loveys, Walter H.||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Turner, Colin|
|Dance, James||McAdden, Stephen||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Deedes, W. F.||MacArthur, Ian||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|de Ferrantl, Basil||McLaren, Martin||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Doughty, Charles||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|du Cann, Edward||Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&NAyrs.)||Walder, David|
|Duncan, Sir James||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Walker, Peter|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||McMaster, Stanley R.||Wall, Patrick|
|Elliott, R. W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||MacPherson Niall (Dumfries)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Maddan, Martin||Webster, David|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Manningham-Buller, Art- Hn. Sir R.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Farr, John||Marshall, Dougles||Whitelaw, William|
|Finlay, Graeme||Marten, Neil||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Wise, A. R.|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Mawby, Ray||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Woollam, John|
|Gammans, Lady||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Worsley, Marcus|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Mills, Stratton|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Montgomery, Fergus||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gilmour, Sir John||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Mr.J. E. B. Hill.|
|Ainsley, William||Blyton, William||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Albu, Austen||Boardman, H.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Callaghan, James|
|Beaney, Alan||Bowles, Frank||Chapman, Donald|
|Benson, Sir George||Boyden, James||Cronin, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Brockway, A. Fenner||Crosland, Anthony|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Probert, Arthur|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jeger, George||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Davies, S O. (Merthyr)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Randall, Harry|
|Deer, George||Jones Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Dempsey, James||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Diamond, John||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dodds, Norman||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Ross, William|
|Driberg, Tom||Kelley, Richard||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Kenyon, Clifford||Short, Edward|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Evans, Albert||King, Dr. Horace||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lawson, George||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Fletcher, Eric||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lipton, Marcus||Small, William|
|Forman, J. C.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||MacColl, James||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McInnes, James||Steele, Thomas|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stonehouse, John|
|Ginsburg, David||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stones, William|
|Gooch, E. G.||Manuel, A. C.||Symonds, J. B.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mapp, Charles||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Mason, Roy||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Grimond, J.||Mayhew, Christopher||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mendelson, J. J.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Hannan, William||Millan, Bruce||Wade, Donald|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Milne, Edward J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mitchison, G. R.||Warbey, William|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Moyle, Arthur||Weitzman, David|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hilton, A. V.||Oram, A. E.||Willey, Frederick|
|Holman, Percy||Owen, Will||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Padley, W. E.||Woof, Robert|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Parker, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Hunter, A. E.||Paton, John||Mr. Sydney Irving and|
|Mr. Ifor Davies.|
§ Mr. Grimond
I beg to move, in page 2, line 48, after "time", to insert:or for the purpose of acquiring a recognised qualification in a profession, trade or industry".This Amendment follows directly the last Amendment and, indeed, the concluding words of the Home Secretary's speech on that Amendment. If hon. Members will look at Clause 2, subsection (3, b) they will see that it enables students attending a course of study at any university, college, school or other institution to enter the United Kingdom without quota or voucher. But there are people who come here not to attend any institution but for the purpose of taking up apprenticeship schemes, postgraduate studies, trainee schemes, to learn a craft or trade, or to further their qualifications in some profession. There are many such people who will not be covered by the subsection, and the Amendment seeks to allow them unfettered entry also.
Paragraph 14 of the instructions to immigration officers provides that if such people come here under an officially sponsored scheme they shall be admittedon documentary evidence of sponsorship being furnished to an Immigration Officer.762 But unless they come on an officially sponsored scheme they must produce a labour voucher. This fact was confirmed by the words used by the Home Secretary on the last Amendment. Further, hon. Members who were present earlier will have heard the Minister of Labour state that the rule of first come, first served would be enforced in respect of people in category C.
As I see it, therefore, the situation might well arise in which a man who wanted to come here to take up an apprenticeship or a trainee scheme would find that the quota had been filled, so to speak, for the time being, and that he could not be admitted. It is not true to say that he might be admitted under paragraph 13 of the instructions to immigration officers; if the quota was full he would not be admitted.
I have some interest in this matter. Together with other hon. Members, I am personally interested, in a small way, in trying to start a scheme by which people will be able to come here from Commonwealth countries to become apprentices, to learn about our local government system, or to be trained in many other jobs, for which I should imagine 763 there was a crying need within the emergent countries of the Commonwealth. As I see it, if we get this scheme floated, the people involved may find that there is no room for them; that the immigration officers have been told that the quota is full and that they cannot come into this country. I should consider that most unfortunate.
This is the sort of scheme that we should encourage. I emphasise that if it ever comes about, it will be a voluntary scheme and I take it, therefore, that it will not count as an officially sponsored scheme. Unless we insert in the Bill words similar to those proposed in the Amendment we may well find that we are excluding a great many people who may desire to come to this country, not necessarily to attend an institution, college or school but to acquire the sort of skills and experience which are needed today in the emergent countries.
§ Mr. Wade
I wish to support the Amendment. I hope that the Home Secretary will throw some light on the words, "other institution" in subsection (3, b). This does not appear to be defined in the Bill, or in the draft instructions. In the debate on the previous Amendment the Home Secretary used the expression "other centres of learning or instruction." I assume, therefore, that the words "other institution" must be read to mean educational institution.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I should like some help. I do not understand how this is affected by the acceptance or non-acceptance of the Amendment under discussion.
§ Mr. Wade
I hope, Mr. Speaker, that in a few words I may be able to explain.
If paragraph (b) is limited to institutions in the strict sense it will not include, for example, apprentices. I am thinking not only of apprentices, but of others who come here to learn professions such as accountancy, the law or medicine. Accountancy may be learned by a person working in an accountant's office, of someone studying law may work in a solicitor's office as an articled clerk, but not necessarily become a student at a university or an institution within the meaning of the subsection.
Problems may arise. For example, if a medical student it attached to a teaching 764 hospital presumably he would be a student within the meaning of the subsection. But if he is not, presumably he would not benefit from this provision. As I understand, those who come here to acquire skills of various kinds who are excluded from the exemption in paragraph (b) will have to obtain a voucher or be sponsored, under an official scheme. We are entitled to ask whether it is reasonable to make this differentiation between those who are students, as at present defined in the Bill, and those who come here, in the words of the Amendment,for the purpose of acquiring a recognised qualification in a profession, trade or industry",not only for their own benefit, but ultimately for the benefit of the country to which they return.
§ Dr. Alan Thompson (Dunfermline Burghs)
I wish to add a few words to the commendably brief speeches of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade). It seems that the Minister is defining education in far too narrow a sense and that is why I support what has been said by the two hon. Members.
The whole pattern of education and Commonwealth education is important to the Commonwealth. The vast mosaic of education, not merely classical education but scientific and technical education, welds the Commonwealth together and gives a great deal of significance to many Commonwealth activities. Various Commonwealth scientific and technical training committees—of one of which I am a member—are trying to cement this great mosaic of Commonwealth education which extends more widely than the narrow rigorous classifications which the Minister has described.
There are many kinds of professional, scientific and technical jobs which have been alluded to at various levels. We should not always be seeking the top level, the most academically respectable levels. The paradox is that in the Commonwealth in many cases it is the lower levels of scientific and technical training in which we want more of these people who have been referred to by the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West. At the stage of development which some Commonwealth countries are, the need 765 is for large numbers of professional and technically skilled workers rather than a few very advanced academically qualified people.
I appeal to the Minister to look at this question and to widen his horizon. We have to acknowledge that people who come here to do this professional and technical training are basically under disadvantages and we should not add to those disadvantages. Speaking as one who was a full-time student, I have great respect for the part-time students who are pursuing professional qualifications either in brief spells by interrupting their working careers, or in the evenings during their working careers, or by correspondence courses.
I have a great respect for these professional and technical students who are working often without libraries or residential accommodation in a university, working with a lack of community life and without the give and take of academic relationships found in institutions and the mutual educational and cultural rapport in universties, colleges and schools. They are doing very valuable work for themselves and for the Commonwealth.
I strongly urge the Minister to see whether he can widen this provision. It seems to be aimed at keeping out as many as possible. That may be the purpose of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman admits that students must be admitted and seems to say that because of the tide of public opinion which favours educational advancement, and the idealism of the Commonwealth, we shall have to admit students whether we like it or not. Nevertheless, we shall define the provisions so narrowly and technically that we shall keep out many of those we might call quasi-students who qualify for jobs which professionally, scientifically and industrially can be of great value not only to the Commonwealth, but to this country.
§ Mr. Renton
The speeches we have heard from the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) and the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) on this Amendment show that there is now at this late stage a fairly clear understanding arising between my right 766 hon. Friend the Home Secretary and those of us on the Front Bench who have to pilot this Bill and hon. Members on the other side of the House. We certainly have no wish to exclude people who are genuinely coming here to obtain professional qualifications. We believe that the arrangements we have in mind will achieve this.
I think that the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West was particularly conscious of the fact that we have a difficulty. We are anxious to ensure that the many people who have been accustomed to come here in order to learn our ways academically and so to reinforce that bridge between our country and the civilisation of so many parts of the world shall be followed by many others. The arrangements which we have in mind are designed to ensure that that will happen without circumventing the necessary control and, in particular, the voucher scheme.
The hon. Member for Huddersfield, West referred to the fact that our scheme is mainly based upon the principle that people shall either come on officially sponsored courses of one kind or another or else shall be trainees or apprentices who will have vouchers. The Amendment would give an assurance of admission to anyone who could satisfy the immigration officer that he wished to enter the country forthe purpose of acquiring a recognised qualification in a profession, trade or industry.On the face of it, that looks a very laudable object, but when it comes to drafting and administration there are a number of difficulties. First, the drafting is vague. For example, a "recognised qualification in a trade" is a very broad definition, and it would be difficult for the immigration officer to interpret it. Secondly—and this is the main objection—the Amendment would give an assurance of entry outside the voucher scheme to people coming here for whole-time employment. Many people who come for employment, especially with industrial firms, may at some time hope to acquire additional technical or other qualifications; that we concede. But it is the essence of the proposed control that these people must hold vouchers. After all, they are coming here to work, and, although study may be their ultimate purpose, it is incidental to their taking employment here.
767 Thirdly, I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the points which he has raised are in substance already met to a considerable extent either by the Bill or by the draft instructions which we propose to give to immigration officers. Some of the people coming to obtain professional qualifications will be taking courses of study at technical colleges and other institutions, and they will be admitted as students on the basis which has already been fully explained by my right hon. Friend on a previous Amendment and during the Committee stage. If they have not enrolled for a course of study in advance and they are anxious to be sure of their position, they will be able to apply for entry certificates, which gives yet a further opportunity in addition to the two principal opportunities mentioned by the hon. Member for Hudders-field, West.
Other people whom the right hon. Gentleman evidently has in mind can come as apprentices or as trainees in factories, but they will be expected to have vouchers. But the vouchers for people wanting to come in that way will be obtainable without any difficulty. Not only will they be obtained without any difficulty but they will be issued without any regard to limitations of numbers—and that is a very important point for the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind.
§ Mr. Grimond
It is a very important point. May I clear this point up, because what was clearly indicated earlier was that there would be a considerable limitation of numbers. Do I understand that vouchers will be given to people who want to come here to take courses of study under a town clerk or apprenticeship courses, over and above any quota established by the Ministry of Labour in the Minister's various categories?
§ Mr. Renton
That is not what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, said, nor has it been said by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. The point is that if someone is coming here to take employment and to learn through apprenticeship or to be a trainee at the same time, he will get a voucher not within category C, the quota, but under either category A or category B, namely, that he is coming here to fill a job which is here for him.
768 10.0 p.m.
The White Paper contains draft instructions and the Home Secretary has asked me to say that we shall consider these instructions in the light of the further discussion which we are having on these Amendments, that we are anxious to ensure that the point which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland is covered in substance and that we shall see, after a careful scrutiny of the instructions, that the final draft covers that point.
I hope that in view of the explanation I have given, and since our motives are almost identical, the right hon. Gentleman may feel that the best way of dealing with the matter is as I have said and not by adding to the Bill this, quite candidly, not very suitable definition.
§ Mr. Grimond
On the explicit under-taking that the substance of the Amendment will be met by the Government, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Speaker
The next Amendment selected is that in page 3, line 1, to leave out from "he" to "and".
§ Mr. Fletcher
My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) does not desire, in view of the operation of the Guillotine, to move the Amendment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The next Amendment is that in page 3, line 8, at the end to insert:(4) The power of the Minister of Labour to order the categories of persons to whom vouchers shall or shall not be issued under this subsection, and as to the number to be admitted in particular categories and in total, shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, and any statutory instrument containing such an order shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am sorry again to say, Mr. Speaker, that owing to the operation of the Guillotine we shall be unable to move this Amendment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The next Amendment selected is that in page 3, line 8, at the end to insert:(4) Admission into the United Kingdom shall not be refused under this section in the case of a Commonwealth citizen who produces to an immigration officer a valid immigration certificate isued in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule (Immigration Certificates) to this Act.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am sorry but, for the same reason, owing to the operation of the Guillotine, we shall be unable to discuss this Amendment.
§ Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)
I beg to move, in page 3, line 13, to leave out "the immigration officer, or to".
At 28 minutes before the Guillotine falls on the first 15 Clauses of the Bill on Report we are, for the first time, now discussing the only subsection of the Bill proper that deals with refusal of admission to this this country on health grounds. I make the strongest possible protest at the operation of the Guillotine in this connection. The only reason why we can have even this discussion is that my hon. Friends have agreed not to move a number of equally important Amendments.
All hon. Members have the greatest opinion of the immigration officers' qualities and, indeed, of their qualifications for their job. But I doubt whether anyone would suggest that those qualifications would normally include the qualifications of a medical practitioner. We feel that it is quite right that it should be left to the immigration officer to decide whether a prospective immigrant should be admitted or refused admission on the grounds set out in this subsection, namely,if it appears to the immigration officer, or to a medical inspector, that he is a person suffering from mental disorder, or that it is otherwise undesirable for medical reasons that he should be admitted …I am not sure that I will be altogether happy with this part of the subsection even if the Amendment is accepted.
The Minister of State will recall that some time ago we discussed the Mental Health Bill, which is now the Mental Health Act, 1959. For the purposes of the courts in this country, whether or not a man is suffering from mental disorder can be determined only after a report from a practising psychiatrist. I use the convenient term, which is defined a little long-windedly in the Act. I am not sure, therefore, that even a medical officer is normally competent to decide whether someone is or is not suffering from mental disorder. However, it is a little better than leaving it to an immigration officer.
770 I hope that the Minister of State will realise that this is not a matter for the immigration officer and that it should be left only to a medical inspector to decide whether a person may enter this country or have to stay outside on medical grounds.
§ Mr. Renton
The hon. Gentleman has stuck to the fairly narrow point raised by the Amendment, and I shall deal with just that point. His object is that no immigrant shall be refused admission on mental or medical grounds on the judgment of an immigration officer alone. I dare say that in this context he has considered paragraph 39 of the White Paper where he will find defined the circumstances in which an immigration officer will refer an immigrant for medical examination. I stress that it will be most unusual for him to refuse entry on medical grounds without having referred the matter to a medical officer for medical examination, but I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that circumstances could arise in which the power would be needed and to accept that it would be just as well for us to leave the power in the Bill.
I leave aside for the moment mental health. I shall come to that later. The hon. Gentleman will know that, in order to ease the passage of travellers, whether they be Commonwealth immigrants, United Kingdom residents or aliens, we have in recent years increasingly developed the practice of having an immigration officer travel on ships. For example, I believe that the trans-Atlantic run nowadays is always done with an immigration officer on board the ships which carry a large number of passengers.
It may well be that, in the course of a voyage, it comes to the notice of the immigration officer that somebody who is coming here with—as it would be at present under the Aliens Order—a Ministry of Labour permit is taken ill, perhaps seriously ill. By consulting the ship's doctor, he is able to decide on the spot and tell the person concerned that, because of his illness as to which the immigration officer has been able to take the advice of the ship's doctor, he would not be allowed to land in this country. It must obviously be a convenience for that to be done. If the person is not able to land, the shipping 771 company will have an obligation to take him back, and it is best that he should go back on the same ship, and if he is still unwell by the end of the voyage, as necessarily will be the case if he is refused leave to land, the person is saved the trouble of coming off the ship to receive a medical examination on shore.
We feel that it is right in those circumstances that an immigration officer should have power to refuse leave to land and to do so without having consulted a medical officer on shore but having taken medical advice on the ship.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)
Am I to assume that the person who is ill is not so acutely ill that he need be taken off the ship? Do I take it that the Government will not be so abominable in their treatment of people that they will take off the ships those who need medical aid and who would get it in this country irrespective of all this paraphernalia of admissions and so forth?
§ Mr. Renton
I am assuming the case where the nature of the illness is such that a person ought to be refused leave to land in accordance with subsection (4, a), which states:… if it appears to the immigration officer, or to a medical inspector, that he is a person suffering from mental disorder, or that it is oterwise undesirable for medical reasons that he should be admitted:…It is impossible to deal hypothetically with the very wide range of different circumstances which might arise. Speaking broadly, the situation which might arise is this: the passenger is in possession of an employment voucher but his illness is such that if he came here he would not be able to work because of his medical condition. In those circumstances, we think that it is perfectly right for the immigration officer, having consulted the ship's doctor, to be in a position to say to that person, "I am awfully sorry but, although you have a voucher, it is obvious from your illness that you will not be able to work, and, therefore, the voucher cannot be taken up." That is the effect of subsection (4, a).
The hon. Gentleman's Amendment would mean that the immigration officer would not be able to take a decision at all until the ship had berthed and until the person concerned had come ashore and had been examined by a medical 772 inspector. We do not think that is sensible. I hope that on reflection the hon. Gentleman might agree with us.
I now come to the question of mental disorder. Of course, in no difficult case or in no case of doubt would the immigration officer take it upon himself to refuse leave to land to somebody unless the most careful examination had been made of the person's mental disorder. In the case of the administration of the Aliens' Order, and it might well be in the case of Commonwealth immigrants, there is an occasional case, admittedly a very rare case, in which a person is so obviously mentally deranged that the immigration officer and everybody within singht can tell for himself that the person is suffering from mental disorder.
I am sure that, in spite of what the hon. Member has said about the experience which we both had of the Mental Health Act, in those circumstances he would not insist that we should go through all the palaver of a reference to a medical inspector. We feel it right that in these rare obvious cases the immigration officer should have power, in accordance with subsection (4, a), to refuse permission to land. For those reasons, we feel it right to advise the House that the Amendment, moved in a very constructive spirit, should not be accepted.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
By leave of the House, I do not think that my hon. Friends will have been very satisfied with the reply of the Minister of State. He has adduced one or two very remote types of case in support of his argument for retaining these powers to the immigration officer. I am not sure that I agree with him about these "very obvious cases" of mental disorder. Some very serious mistakes have been made about what appeared to be obvious cases of mental disorder.
Even assuming that it is necessary to provide for that possibility, the right hon. Gentleman wants to remove all protection and give the immigration officer blanket powers to refuse admission on grounds of mental disorder or other health grounds. These are not powers which ought to be given to an immigration officer. In normal circumstances I would ask my hon. Friends to divide in support of the Amendment, but in order 773 that we shall have an opportunity to discuss the next important Amendment, I am prepared to see this negatived.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Dr. Dickson Mabon
I beg to move, in page 3, line 15, to leave out from "or" to "or" in line 16 and to insert "serious transmissible disease".
The refusal of the Government to accept the previous Amendment only strengthens the case for accepting this. An immigration officer, who now, apparently, has to exercise certain medical functions, could be faced with three possibilities. He could have someone suffering from a grossly mental condition, so gross that even the immigration officer could perceive it, and he might also have someone who was suffering from a mental condition which was not so gross but who would be kept out under some other arrangement, which is also reprehensible.
The second possibility is that, acting under his normal instructions about port health and so on, he might come across a case of serious illness, like smallpox or some such transmissible disease, in the period of manifestation, so that even he could see that this was the kind of person who ought to be treated differently and not be admitted to the country among the public.
But when it comes to the third category, a person who may be ill, it becomes very tricky indeed. How is this immigration officer to decide when a person should not be admitted for medical reasons other than mental disorder of a gross nature, or a serious transmissible disease? The immigrant must be suffering from a physical disease which is either acute or chronic. If it is a physical disease in an acute form, I do not know how the Government will refuse the immigrant admission—he might be suffering from a serious surgical catastrophe, a perforation or haematosis, or other surgical condition demanding immediate attention. Surely the Government do not mean that.
On the other hand, in the chronic form it is more difficult. Is the immigration officer to say that he cannot admit a man because he has discovered that he is suffering from diabetes or some other chronic systematic disease which might 774 mean a charge on public funds. I can see no reason for arguing that we should refuse these people on any other ground for they might be useful citizens, as are many citizens who suffer from chronic diseases.
There are people who get many drugs from the National Health Service for rheumatoid, cardiac, or diabetic disease, and so on, but who are in themselves excellent workers and who contribute much more to the Exchequer as a result of their being excellent workers than they take from it indirectly through the Health Service. How is the immigration officer to decide in a short time, under a Bill of this kind, when there are so many sensitivities and when blanket powers are given to unqualified men?
I go further and say that even a medical man would find it unfair to have the job of saying that, having calculated the amount of money which would be involved in treatment of the immigrant, admission should be refused. It is not the job of a medical officer to say what might be the charge on the public purse and that an immigrant cannot be admitted because he suffers from a chronic sickness which it is too expensive to treat. How can a medical man make what is, in effect, an economic assessment of this would-be immigrant?
The Government have a very bad case for leaving the position of those with physical disease, as distinct from mental disease, so badly defined. I should like them to be more precise and I move the Amendment in the hope that it will meet the case.
§ Mr. Renton
I do not blame the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) for the fact that the way in which he moved his Amendment betrayed a misunderstanding of what the immigration officers will do. I hoped that I had explained on the previous Amendment the somewhat rare cases in which the immigration officer would decide the matter without reference to a medical inspector. In practice, however, he will refer to a medical inspector the case of anyone who is coming here for permanent settlement and also anyone who, he considers, should be medically examined. There will be a 775 medical inspector at every port—seaports and airports—to help him with this work.
Examples of health grounds on which admission may be refused are mental disorder or any grave physical condition such as crippling orthopaedic disease or serious eye disease which would prevent the person concerned from supporting himself or his dependants or which could require major medical treatment.
§ Mr. Renton
Only from my notes, if I may be allowed to do that. It is as well to get the terminology correct sometimes.
§ Mr. Renton
In the time available, the hon. Member might let me have a little free run, because I believe that I can help to clarify things for him.
The instructions of the Minister of Health to medical inspectors are not suitable to be published as a White Paper or in any other form. As a medical man, the hon. Member will no doubt see the reason for that. These instructions do not concern questions of policy such as we have been debating in connection with the Bill, but will consist of guidance of a clinical character. They will vary from time to time with methods and circumstances and, if necessary, at short notice, they might have to be changed in the light of scientific developments and information received about health conditions in countries from which the immigrants come.
The powers which will be given to medical officers include the power, if necessary, to order an X-ray examination or any other technical examination. We have tabled an Amendment to paragraph 1 (5) of the First Schedule to place it beyond doubt that a medical inspection by X-ray or other apparatus may be carried out by a radiologist or another expert at the request of the medical inspector, although not necessarily by the medical inspector himself. This will give full powers to carry out X-ray examinations to whatever extent 776 may be considered necessary or desirable.
Strictly speaking, the Amendment involves merely a drafting point. The hon. Member for Greenock wants us to insert "serious transmissible disease" instead of the existing words. Unfortunately, however, the words that the hon. Member proposes are unacceptable, for two reasons. First, the expression "serious transmissible disease" is too imprecise for statutory purposes. There are many degrees of seriousness and some diseases are more readily transmissible than others. How could an immigration officer, in the rare cases in which he may have to decide himself in the light of advice from, say, a ship's doctor, know whether he was exceeding his powers?
There are other physical conditions—and the hon. Member, with his medical knowledge, will appreciate this—than the possession of serious transmissible disease which, equally, would justify the refusal of admission. For example, the immigrant may be in such a physical condition that he is unlikely to be able to work even though he may have obtained an employment voucher, or his condition may require what the hon. Member himself mentioned, namely, medical treatment.
I can, however, give the assurance that although, after careful thought, we feel that it is not possible to define this power more closely in the Bill than we have done in statutory terms, we do not intend to use the power or to instruct immigration officers or medical inspectors to use it except in the kind of circumstances which I have indicated.
That being the position, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will feel that we have the Bill drafted in more practical terms, in a sense in more generous terms and certainly in more workable terms than he envisaged. I hope also that he will appreciate that in practice responsibility for refusing admission on medical grounds will devolve in practically every case upon a medical inspector after holding such examination as that medical inspector thinks necessary.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
In the course of a somewhat unsatisfactory reply to the Amendment, the Minister of State made one remark which disturbed me very 777 much indeed. He said that the immigration officer might decide, and possibly the medical inspector, too, might decide, that it was undesirable to admit an immigrant if he required medical treatment. We have understood for some time that arrangements have been made to exclude as far as possible aliens coming into the country in order to use our National Health Service for the purposes of medical treatment.
But the doctrine which the Minister has now enunciated goes very much further. Are we to take it that it will be within the competence of an immigration officer or a medical inspector to refuse admission to a would-be Commonwealth immigrant who has developed a condition on the way here which requires medical treatment and who, on any other grounds, would be admissible to this country? This is a most disturbing suggestion.
The whole of the provisions in this subsection worry me profoundly and we have not even had an assurance from the Minister that an immigration officer, exercising his powers under the Clause, will consult a medical man at all. He says that he probably will if he is carried on a ship, but there is no undertaking that he has to do so. The whole Clause is subject to grievous criticism and I hope that my hon. Friends will divide on the Amendment.
§ Mr. Renton
The hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) either did not hear me, or has not understood me. I said that it would be only rarely that the immigration officer would take upon himself, and then in that limited range of cases which I have mentioned, to decide to reject somebody on medical grounds, and he would refer
§ to the medical inspector people coming here for settlement or anyone else whom the immigration officer considered should be medically examined.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Weitzman
I beg to move, in page 3, line 18, to leave out from "has" to "crime" and to insert:within the last five years been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for twelve months or more for a ".As the Clause stands, an immigration officer may refuse admission if he has reason to believe that a Commonwealth citizen has been convicted in any country of any crime, whenever committed, which is an extradition crime within the meaning of the Extradition Acts. These crimes cover a wide range. They comprise, for example, offences under the Bankruptcy Act, embezzlement, false pretences and larceny. This means that a person of 50 years of age, convicted in his early youth in any country whatever of any such crime, however slight and however lightly he may have been punished, may not be admitted into the country.
I seek to have this modified by the insertion of the words in the Amendment. That seems to me to be a very reasonable modification. It would seem absurd that the wide latitude allowed in the Clause should remain.
§ It being half-past Ten o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 187, Noes 112.781
|Division No. 104.]||AYES||[10.30 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Critchley, Julian|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bryan, Paul||Crosthwaite-Ayre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Allason, James||Buck, Antony||Crowder, F. P.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bullard, Denys||Curran, Charles|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Dance, James|
|Barlow, Sir John||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Deedes, W. F.|
|Barter, John||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||de Ferranti, Basil|
|Batsford, Brian||Channon, H. P. C.||Doughty, Charles|
|Biffen, John||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Drayson, G. B.|
|Birch, Art, Hon. Nigel||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||du Cann, Edward|
|Bishop, F. P.||Cleaver, Leonard||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Collard, Richard||Elliot, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Brume-Arton, A.||Cooper, A. E.||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Box, Donald||Corfield, F. V.||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Braine, Bernard||Costain, A. P.||Farr, John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter||Coulson, Michael||Finlay, Graeme|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Craddock, Sir Beresford||Fisher, Nigel|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Litchfield, Capt. John||Renton, David|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Longbottom, Charles||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Longden, Gilbert||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Gammans, Lady||Loveys, Walter H.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||MacArthur, Ian||Russell, Ronald|
|Gilmour, Sir John||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.)||Sharples, Richard|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Shaw, M.|
|Goodhart, Philip||McMaster, Stanley R.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Goodhew, Victor||MacPherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Maddan, Martin||Smithers, Peter|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Green, Alan||Marshall, Douglas||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Marten, Neil||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Gurden, Harold||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Matthews Gordon (Mariden)||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mawby, Ray||Tapsell, Peter|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Temple, John M.|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mills, Stratton||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hastings, Stephen||Montgomery, Fergus||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Hiley, Joseph||Morgan, William||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nabarro, Gerald||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Holland, Philip||Neave, Airey||Turner, Colin|
|Hopkins, Alan||Nugent Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hornby, R. P.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Partridge, E.||Walder, David|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Walker, Peter|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Peel, John||Wall, Patrick|
|Jackson, John||Percival, Ian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Webster, David|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pitt, Miss Edith||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pott, Percivall||Whitelaw, William|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Prior, J. M. L.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Pym, Francis||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Kimball, Marcus||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Kirk, Peter||Ramsden, James||Woollam, John|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Rawlinson, Peter||Worsley, Marcus|
|Lindsay, Sir Martin||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Linstead, Sir Hugh||Rees-Davies, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr. McLaren.|
|Ainsley, William||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Millan, Bruce|
|Albu, Austen||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Milne, Edward|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hannan, William||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Baird, John||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Morris, John|
|Beaney, Alan||Hayman, F. H.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Benson, Sir George||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Oram, A. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hilton, A. V.||Owen, Will|
|Blyton, William||Holman, Percy||Padley, W. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Houghton, Douglas||Pannell Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Bowles, Frank||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Boyden, James||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Parker, John|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hunter, A. E.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Callaghan, James||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, Arthur|
|Cronin, John||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Crosland, Anthony||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Randall, Harry|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Jeger, George||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Davies, (for (Gower)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Ross, William|
|Deer, George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Short, Edward|
|Dempsey, James||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Diamond, John||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Dodds, Norman||Kelley, Richard||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Evans, Albert||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Fernyhough, E.||King, Dr. Horace||Small, William|
|Fletcher, Eric||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stonehouse, John|
|Forman, J. C.||MacColl, James||Stones, William|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McInnes, James||Symonds, J. B.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Cinsburg, David||Manuel, A. C.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mapp, Charles||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mason, Roy||Thornton, Ernest|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Mendelson, J. J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Warbey, William||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Weitzman, David||Woof, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Wilkins, W. A.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)||Mr. Redhead and Mr. Lawson.|
§ Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a Member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at half-past Ten o'clock.