HC Deb 16 May 1968 vol 764 cc1373-4
6. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the number of immigrants and their dependants admitted to the United Kingdom last month, he will now stop the issue of all further work permits for immigrants.

21. Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of last month's immigration figures, he will curb immigration until the present scarcity of houses, schools and hospitals has been overcome; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. James Callaghan)

No. Sir. The number of employment vouchers issued is already closely controlled. Since April of this year their issue has been strictly related to the country's economic and social needs.

The great majority of immigrants now arriving are dependants joining heads of families here.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that places like Birmingham, Bradford and Ealing are saying that they cannot take any more immigrants, because they are full? Would not it be better to stop all further work permits to get the situation under control, because, if we do not, we shall have an explosion in this country.

Mr. Callaghan

The situation is under control. The work vouchers issued are basically issued in relation to the category "A" vouchers on the application of employers in Birmingham and elsewhere for persons to come to specified jobs. Therefore, the matter is not out of control. The Government have limited the total number of vouchers, but employers are asking for these people to come.

Mr. John Hall

Does the Minister agree that there are far more dependants coming over now than there are work permit holders? Is there not a case, as a purely temporary measure until we have examined the problems involved in the immigration influx, to call a temporary halt to all immigration?

Mr. Callaghan

No. I think that would cause a disproportionate amount of distress to the families involved. An urgent examination of the problem is being made, and I have undertaken to inform the House of the Government's conclusions as early as possible.

Mr. Hogg

The original Question related to vouchers. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing more information about how they are broken down into different kinds of jobs and to whom they are issued? I feel—and I hope the right hon Gentleman will agree—that we need more information about it.

Mr. Callaghan

I will certainly consider that. It is for my right hon. Friend the First Secretary to issue this information. Her predecessor made a full statement about it in February. It is not generally recognised how far the initiative for bringing people here under work vouchers begins in this country. I will certainly see that full information is made available.