HC Deb 12 December 1968 vol 775 c569
40. Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of immigration officers dealing specifically with Asian, African or West Indian immigrants; how many of them have served in the countries from which immigrants of those races mostly come; and how many speak the relevant Asian or African language.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

No immigration officers deal specifically with Asian, African or West Indian immigrants. The other parts of the Question do not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Godman Irvine

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are about 10,000 former Government servants who have worked in the countries mentioned in the Question? Does he not appreciate that making proper use of their ability in the relevant languages could be of considerable value?

Mr. Rees

I ask the hon. Gentleman to look at the numbers of Commonwealth immigrants from Asia, Africa and the West Indies, who form only a small proportion of the total number of people entering this country every year. I could give him a list of immigration officers who have been trained in Urdu and other languages and of the courses which take place. We consider that we have sufficient people who can speak the languages to meet the requirements of the relatively small problem.