HC Deb 28 May 1976 vol 912 cc856-72

3.5 p.m.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

The subject of this debate is not immigration, which has been causing heated argument recently, but citizenship for a number of people of Pakistani origin living in this country.

In 1972 Pakistan left the Commonwealth, and Pakistani citizens living in this country were faced with a considerable dilemma, because if the British Government had accepted the situation and made them into aliens they would have had reduced rights, particularly in relation to franchise, and they would have come under a different system of immigration control.

The then Conservative Government very magnanimously passed a Bill which gave to citizens of Pakistan the right to register as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, in the same way as they could have done had they been Commonwealth citizens. These people were obliged to pass the tests set out in Schedule 2 of the Pakistan Act 1973. The appropriate test for discussion in this debate is the one in Schedule 2, paragraph 2(1)(a)(i), which says that the application shall be granted if the person is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or a territory which, within the meaning of the 1948 Act, is a colony or protectorate. The words "ordinarily resident" are used in that connection in relation to citizenship, but they are also used in the immigration rules as well.

In the immigration rules, a person is admitted by the immigration officer if he satisfies the officer that he was settled in the United Kingdom at the time of the Act coming into force and has been settled here at any time in the two years preceding his return. "Settled" according to Immigration Rule HC79 means that a person settled in the United Kingdom was ordinarily resident here without having entered, or remained, in breach of the immigration laws. The same phrase is used in the Act in relation to ciitzenship and in the rules in relation to purposes for admission or entry. Unfortunately in the subsequent administration of the Act, the interpretation has been used in a different sense.

About 110,000 Pakistanis applied for citizenship under the Act. As I understand it—my figures could be out of date and I hope that the Minister will give more recent ones—there are about 14,000 applications still left, and about 5,000 people had their cases refused—or will have them refused because they have not established that they were ordinarily resident for the five years requisite under the Act. The reason they have been unable to establish this is that there was a break in their period of residence while they went abroad, usually back to Pakistan.

Before one considers this problem, one must recognise the cultural pattern of Pakistani immigrants who come to this country. The male of the household comes first and gets a job. He saves for the purpose of bringing his family here, and that can take several years. Initially, it may not have been his intention to bring his family to this country. But since 1968 there has been a marked increase in the numbers who want to come. As everybody now knows, these people have to get entry certificates from the post at Islamabad.

The difficulty that has arisen is that the man has been wont to go back home to live with his wife and family for a little time and then to come back, in order to make living abroad tolerable. Naturally, being relatively poor, the journey back is a considerable investment. Therefore, the man stays as long as he can—often for the two years permitted by the immigration rules. In addition, his wife and family being out there, he naturally wants to stay with them for a substantial period.

Whenever these 110,000 Pakistani residents put in their applications, a substantial number were bound to disclose to the Home Office that, during the preceding five years, they had been out of the country for some time. The question then arose as to what to do about the situation.

"Ordinarily resident" for this purpose has not been properly defined by the courts. In 1972 there was a decision that it must be lawful, as distinct from unlawful, residence. That is about as far as it has got. The Home Office states that the individual concerned must indicate an intention to return and that there must be something in the facts of the situation which gives an open indication of that intention to return. For example, if a man owned a shop before he left and he kept that shop, it would be clear that he intended to come back—and similarly with a house and possibly with furniture. A possible indication that a man intended to return would be the existence of a bank account.

So far the Home Office has applied that kind of test. However, it does not apply that kind of test for the purpose of the immigration rules. The situation is that if the immigration officer at the port is satisfied that the man has been out of the country for less than two years and he can show that he was here before, that is enough. That is a ludicrous situation to pose for a man in this position. He thinks that he is ordinarily resident because the immigration officer has allowed him to come back into the country after his two-year holiday. However, when he applies to become a citizen of this country, the Home Office tells him that he is not ordinarily resident. Yet the Home Office administers the immigration offices.

When this whole business came to light in the middle of last year, when I was the Minister responsible, I gave instructions that, for the purpose of interpretation of the 1973 Act, that rule of convenience which was applied to the Immigration Rules should be applied to the Act—namely, that if a man had been on holiday in Pakistan for less than two years, it should be assumed that he intended to return and that he should be granted citizenship.

The crucial mark of citizenship is two-fold. First, the man can leave the country and come back whenever he likes because he is a citizen and a patrial. Secondly, he has the right to vote. If he is refused citizenship, he will be denied the right to vote because he is an alien, unless he becomes naturalised. He can in due course, if he stays the full five years without going out of the country, become naturalised as an alien. But he then has to pay, under the present dispensation, the sum of, I think, £50, whereas the registration fee is substantially less. Also he has to go through the other test of showing good character and a knowledge of English.

It is a matter of some considerable concern that 5,000 Pakistanis who were promised by the Conservative Government that they would be all right under the Pakistan Act if they put in their application have been denied this right because of the restricted interpretation of the phrase "ordinarily resident" by the Home Office which, when it comes to immigration control, applies a different interpretation to the same phrase.

I found, a little to my surprise but quite consistent with the view I have now formed about the rôle of the Civil Service in political decision-making, that six months after I had given that instruction it had not been carried out. What had happened was that the Department had sat on the matter for that period, preparing a submission, which was ultimately to go to the Home Secretary, taking a different view of the matter. In due course the Home Secretary did take a different view. Therefore those 5,000 people were refused their right to register as citizens. What the civil servants did not tell me or the Home Secretary was that this issue had arisen during the Committee stage of the Pakistan Bill on 3rd July 1973. What is clear is that my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser), the then Opposition spokesman, had tabled an amendment which read: (3) For the purposes of this Schedule, the words 'ordinarily resident' where they occur shall be deemed to include temporary absence (for reasons of a holiday, business, medical treatment or the like) from the United Kingdom or other territory to which they refer. A sub-amendment also discussed with that amendment read: for a period not exceeding two years. The self-same point was raised in that amendment which I had raised in my indication to the staff at the Home Office, namely that "ordinarily resident" would include temporary absence for a holiday period not exceeding two years. The then Conservative Minister, the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane), replying to the debate, no doubt using a Home Office brief, said on this question of the two-year limit: For the same reason, we should not think it right to advise the Committee to accept sub-amendment (a). A time limit might undesirably and unnecessarily restrict our freedom to allow, in certain exceptional circumstances, a longer period of absence abroad than two years—for example, if someone fell ill abroad before the end of his planned holiday of two years and had to stay abroad for prolonged medical treatment. Earlier the hon. Gentleman had said: the difficulty is that if we accepted the amendment it might be thought that short absences from the United Kingdom break ordinary residence for the purpose of enactments which do not expressly provide to the contrary". The fact was that the Committee was give the impression—it may not have been explicit in the words of the hon. Gentleman—that there was nothing to worry about in the kind of absences which all the Committee knew were common in the Pakistan community, with people going back to Pakistan for a limited period not exceeding two years. My hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) in withdrawing the amendment said: I am grateful to the Minister for his assurance that there are circumstances in which an absence of more than two years would be considered appropriate."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 3rd July 1973; c. 345.] Had I known that at the time when this argument took place in the Home Office I should have been in a stronger position to make it plain to officials and the Home Secretary that we had a commitment following the assurance that was given by the previous Minister to allow that kind of break not to destroy the entitlement to registration as a citizen. It is because I feel strongly that an injustice has been perpetrated on those Pakistanis who were given that assurance that I hope that the Minister will put the matter right.

If my hon. Friend does not do that, those 5,000 Pakistanis will not have a right to vote. Secondly, they may in due course find it difficult to return to this country if they leave for longer than two years. Thirdly, they may be in considerable difficulty in getting naturalisation because of the present restricted tests and, in addition, they will have to pay a considerably greater sum of money to get it. That could be put right merely by a different interpretation of the words by the Minister.

It was suggested in the course of the argument that a Minister cannot interpret words and that that has to be left to the court, but within this area of control it is right and proper for the Minister to indicate to officials the way in which the words should be interpreted, if that is a reasonable interpretation, subject to any appeal to the court thereafter for the court to give a different interpretation. It is unlikely that anybody would in those circumstances go to court, so that in the final analysis it is for the Home Secretary to decide.

The Minister asked me sotto voce why it is unlikely that anybody will go to court. The answer is that people do not in the circumstances in which they are granted citizenship go to court to talk about the reasons why they were granted it. I accept the point, if that is the point my hon. Friend is about to put, that if this dispute exists and the decision goes the wrong way these Pakistanis can go to court and show that it is wrong—indeed, that is true and I am advising them to do just that—but why should they have to go to the trouble of going through the courts, at some expense, to put right an injustice that can be put right by a stroke of the ministerial pen, and that would be in accordance with an assurance given by a previous Minister? I emphasise to my hon. Friend that it was a Conservative Minister who gave that assurance.

Why is it that a Labour Government are much less compassionate in those circumstances than a Conservative Government? We are, after all, supposed to be more interested in the welfare of these subjects than were the Conservative Government, and I should have thought it proper—it is certainly legal—for us to take this rather less rigid view than the officials ultimately succeeded in persuading the Home Secretary to take. I hope that the matter will now be put right. the Home Secretary having had it brought to his attention that we were both misled by not having that initial assurance brought to our notice.

3.24 p.m

Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, West)

It is regrettable that it is necessary to have to say at the beginning of one's speech, as indeed my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) said, that this debate has nothing whatever to do with immigration. It concerns the right of people who are already here, who were here prior to the passing of the Pakistan Act—people who were here originally as Commonwealth citizens.

The debate concerns what is meant by the phrase "ordinarily resident", and to that extent, I suppose, this is a lawyers' debate. There is, however, a history to which my hon. Friend referred, and that is the story of the debate in the Committee which considered the Bill. I was a member of that Committee, and basically what we had there was a Labour amendment to interpret the provisions or to define the meaning of "ordinarily resident" fairly liberally. The assurance from the then Minister was that it was completely unnecessary and that it could be construed so broadly that it might work against the interests of applicants for United Kingdom citizenship.

Unlike my hon. Friend, I do not believe that it has anything to do with Conservative or Labour. What it has to do with is the quality of the legal advice which the Home Secretary receives and also, perhaps, the possible fact that the Minister's attention was not drawn to this point in Committee. In future when I listen to assurances given by the Front Bench in Committee, that policy will follow a certain course provided that an amendment is withdrawn, I shall have to remember the civil servants of years to come. It is quite clear, in this instance, that the spirit of that debate is not being fulfilled.

The whole thing is so petty. What the Home Office, so overburdened with work, is saying is "We do not feel that your recent absence in Pakistan keeps you within the provisions on the meaning of the words 'ordinary residence', so come back in two or three years' time and apply for naturalisation". This will give the Home Office a great deal more new work although it is already overworked. What is more, it will cost the applicant about £80 or £100 in solicitors' fees, which is implicit in applying for naturalisation.

That may appear to be a victory to some but it is a curiously futile victory unless those who are making the naturalisation decision are hoping that the more restrictive tests in applying will have the effect of preventing some of those people from becoming United Kingdom citizens.

What we were worried about, during the Committee stage of the Pakistan Bill, was that there had been a precedent for a country leaving the Commonwealth, and that was South Africa. We said there should be some parity of treatment between South Africa and Pakistan. It was said by our present Ambassador to the United Nations, who was then one of the Members who led for the Labour Opposition, that South Africans were given up to eight years in order to apply to become United Kingdom citizens. There was a five years' residence provision for Pakistanis, but they had to take it up within a year.

I have had a number of constituency cases of Pakistanis who were in Pakistan during the time that the Pakistan Act was passed. Accordingly, the argument arose in respect of whether their absence took them out of the definition of five years' ordinary residence. The Home Office said it would see what sort of contact had been maintained with the United Kingdom over the entire period and, in particular, when the person was abroad. It wanted to know whether the person had a house here. When it was pointed out that the person did have a house, but, having been in Pakistan for a few months, he had sold it although immediately on return he bought another one, that apparently ruled him out. Why one should keep the house when no one was using it, I do not know.

When he returned he might wish to bring his family, or he may already have his family here. The Home Office said it must not look at what happened subsequently, which is a very narrow and ungenerous view.

It is often possible to tell something about a person's intentions at a particular time by looking at what he did subsequently. But the Home Office said that we must not look at that. It is obvious to me that someone has come up with a narrow, uncharitable, unpleasant, legalistic interpretation. When I consider some actions of the Home Office, for instance over television licences, I am not surprised at interpretations of that description. It is an interpretation which the Home Secretary, I am sure in good faith, has accepted.

We are not here talking about immigration. We are saying that a number of people have been picked out to receive treatment different from that which their competitors have received in similar circumstances. The Home Office is being too restrictive in saying that Pakistanis who have been away from the country for 15 months within the relevant period have lost ordinary residence. It would not be so bad if the Home Office took the period before and added to it the period after—in other words, if the Home Office drew no inference from the period when the Pakistani was abroad—but the Home Office does not do that, with the result that a number of people feel very hurt and do not see the reason for that action. Nor do I.

3.32 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dr. Shirley Summerskill)

I have listened most carefully to my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons), and I welcome the opportunity to explain Home Office practice in this matter and how it is applied in the consideration of applications by Pakistanis for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

When Pakistan seceded from the Commonwealth on 30th January 1972, it became necessary to make provision in United Kingdom law for Pakistan to be regarded henceforth as a foreign country, and to determine the status of its citizens in our law. Under the Pakistan Act 1973, citizens of Pakistan ceased to be Commonwealth citizens, or British subjects—the terms have the same meaning—from 1st September 1973.

Plainly, it would not have been right for citizens of a country which had left the Commonwealth to be allowed to enjoy indefinitely those privileges which derive solely from Commonwealth membership.

On the other hand, it was necessary to be fair to those Pakistanis who had come to Britain before Pakistan left the Commonwealth in the belief that they would be entitled to certain benefits and conditions of life. Accordingly, transitional provisions were written into the Act to allow Pakistanis to continue, for a time, to be treated as if they were still Commonwealth citizens in certain respects, including the nationality issue. Commonwealth citizens, including citizens of Pakistan, had certain entitlements under the British Nationality Act 1948 to be registered as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of ordinary residence here.

The Pakistan Act provides that any citizen of Pakistan who was ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom immediately before 14th May 1973, the date on which the Pakistan Bill was introduced, is able, for a limited time, to enjoy the privilege of continuing to apply for registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies as though he were still a Commonwealth citizen. This means that he is entitled to registration if he can establish that he has been ordinarily resident here during the five years immediately preceding the date of his application—which must be made within the prescribed time limit—without his stay being subject to any restriction.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West called this a lawyers' debate, but I hope that he will allow me to intervene because the term "ordinary residence", as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for York, has not been defined by the courts in a case concerning registration. I am not entirely clear about the reason for that, although my hon. Friend suggested why such a case has never been taken to the courts. Home Office practice in considering applications has been applied over the years in the light of legal advice as to the view the courts might be expected to take in individual cases.

Both my hon. Friends are lawyers and they obviously have their view on this matter, but the practice in broad terms is to regard a person as being ordinarily resident where he has his headquarters and private base for the time being, or, to put it another way, his current place of residence, for whatever purpose he may be there, is his home at the time.

My hon. Friend the Member for York mentioned the debate on the Pakistan Bill in Committee. I have looked at it in Hansard, and no assurance was given that any absence of two years would be regarded as ordinary residence if it were for a holiday or on business. What the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane), who was then the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, indicated was that in "certain exceptional circumstances" a period of over two years might be accepted, and on occasions this, in fact, has been done in practice. The practice has been followed for many years since the British Nationality Act 1948 came into operation.

The normal expection is that the applicant would have been physically present in the United Kingdom for most of the qualifying period. If he goes abroad for a reasonably short period on holiday or for business purposes, this, of course, is not regarded as having broken the continuity of his ordinary residence for registration purposes. It is sometimes possible to accept that a comparatively long absence did not break ordinary residence if the person maintained close connections with this country while he was away.

Many thousands of Pakistanis have applied for registration as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies since Pakistan left the Commonwealth, and some applications have had to be rejected because the applicants have been unable to satisfy us that they fulfil the statutory residence requirements. My hon. Friend mentioned some figures. Since just before the Pakistan Bill was introduced in May 1973, we have dealt with about 97,000 applications. Of these, over 90,000 have been granted and 6,800 refused.

Statistics are not kept according to reasons for refusal, but a survey done last year indicated that about two-thirds of the refusals were because of some difficulty in the period of residence. This includes many people who mistakenly apply after being here less than five years, as well as those whose period of ordinary residence is thought to have been broken when the applicant was abroad in Pakistan.

As has been pointed out, it is the practice of many Pakistanis, once they have established themselves here, to spend long periods abroad. They usually take their savings and rejoin their families in Pakistan. Many of them buy land, or increase their former holdings and work them during their stay. They then return to the United Kingdom, after just within the maximum period of two years allowed under the immigration rules to returning residents. This cycle may be repeated every few years and it not infrequently happens that an applicant has been away for more than one of these long absences during the qualifying period for registration.

There is, of course, no reason why these men should not visit their families, but the question, so far as the Home Office is concerned, is simply whether their absence has broken the continuous ordinary residence required by law during the qualifying period. If it has, the applicant is not entitled to registration and the application has to be refused.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Surely the fact that the man takes the trouble to get back to this country within the two years allowed within the immigration rules is itself an indication of his intention to resume living in this country and of his view, therefore, that this is his base. Was it not as a result of the discussion in the Home Office that a ruling was made that such a return would be taken into consideration in any future application? In fact, is it not the case that that ruling was never applied to many of the 5,000 cases which were turned down?

Dr. Summerskill

My hon. Friend refers to the criterion of intention to return. The fact that an applicant may have intended to return, or says that he intended to return, does not mean that he remained ordinarily resident here. For example, many people born in this country spend their working lives overseas though with the fixed intention of returning here on retirement. This does not mean that they are ordinarily resident here during the time they are abroad.

The task of assessing whether a person's absence has or has not broken the continuity of his ordinary residence is often not easy, but, as my hon. Friends know, each case is carefully considered on its merits, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature and extent of any relevant connections the applicant has maintained with this country while abroad. He is asked to fill in a questionnaire. It is not enough for an applicant merely to maintain some material links with this country during an absence. We have to look at whether he can demonstrate that he maintained his home and headquarters here throughout the time he was away.

I recognise that many Pakistanis—especially those who first arrived in this country many years ago—regard themselves as settled here even though they return to their families in Pakistan for long periods from time to time, and I accept that they may well intend to return here, and do, after these prolonged visits. But if an applicant has spent say, a year, or perhaps 18 months or more, of the five-year qualifying period at home in Pakistan with his wife and children, it is difficult to regard him as having been ordinarily resident here during that time unless he retained strong links with this country while he was away. So often, the only connections he has maintained, as my hon. Friend said, are a bank account containing a nominal balance and perhaps a few belongings left with a friend. This may certainly indicate that he intended to return, but such an intention, is not of itself, sufficient to establish that he remained ordinarily resident here during his absence. A stronger indication of his intention could be the holding of a mortgage for his own home or a job being held open until his return.

It is true that applications by wives who wish to join their husbands in this country are delayed by our necessary imigration procedures in Pakistan. This may sometimes be the reason why some husbands return there, both to visit their families and to assist their wives in making application for entry facilities. But if application for entry facilities has been made either before or during the husband's stay, this is taken into account, with other factors, in considering whether his absence has broken his ordinary residence here. It is not every wife who wishes to come to this country to be with her husband. Many prefer to remain in Pakistan with their families while their husbands work here, and in this kind of situation it is not easy to be satisfied that the husband has remained ordinarily resident here while living for a long period with his wife and family in Pakistan.

Mr. Edward Lyons

Is it not right that, when one refuses an application for citizenship by registration on the ground of lack of five years' ordinary residence and suggests in the letter that the immigrant should apply a little later for naturalisation, one is telling the immigrant that he should bring his wife and children here in order to strengthen his application for naturalisation, so that, ironically, these refusals encourage immigration?

Dr. Summerskill

I mentioned the wives who prefer not to come over here, but in the majority of cases, I believe, the wives do wish to come. But I agree that, so long as the husband is here and the wife is in Pakistan, that is a bar to naturalisation. I shall come to the question of naturalisation in a moment.

It has been suggested that our refusal to grant our citizenship to this comparatively small number of Pakistanis reflects antipathy towards the Pakistani community here, but—as my hon. Friend well knows—that is not so. The qualifications for registration are laid down by law and it is our duty to follow the law. There are bound to be cases where the application has to be rejected because, even on a liberal interpretation of the statute, we have to conclude that ordinary residence here has not been maintained during the qualifying period.

Some people whose applications have been unsuccessful have contested our refusal to register them—and this was the view put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for York—on the grounds that after a long visit to Pakistan they were re-admitted to this country under Rule 51 of the Immigration Rules (Control on Entry), and that accordingly they must be deemed to have continued to be ordinarily resident for registration purposes during their absence.

But readmission under Rule 51 appears to establish no such thing. The rule reads as follows: A passenger who satisfies the Immigration Officer that he was settled in the United Kingdom at the coming into force of the Act— That is, the Immigration Act 1971, which came fully into operation on 1st January 1973. —and that he has been settled here at any time during the 2 years preceding his return, is to be admitted for settlement. Any other passenger returning to the United Kingdom from overseas (except one who received assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving this country) is to be admitted for settlement on satisfying the Immigration Officer that he was settled in the United Kingdom when he left and that he has not been away for longer than 2 years. In Rule 1 of the same Rules, a person is defined as settled in the United Kingdom when he is ordinarily resident here without having entered or remained in breach of the immigration laws, and is free from any restriction on the period for which he may remain.

So readmission under Rule 51 implies no more than that the immigrant has satisfied us that he was ordinarily resident here within the last two years. It does not establish that he has remained ordinarily resident while he was away. I agree that, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, ordinary residence has the same meaning for nationality and for immigration purposes, but that is not the point. The crucial question is whether "ordinary residence", given its common meaning in the two contexts, has continued during the absence from this country.

It is accepted that Rule 51 has some presumptive effect when we are considering this question, and that when a man has returned under the immigration rule and applied for registration we should look for a rather clearer indication than otherwise before regarding a period of ordinary residence as broken. His return is recognised as providing a starting point for considering whether, despite a long absence, he can nevertheless be regarded as not having broken his ordinary residence. Such a man's case is stronger than that of someone who has been absent for longer than two years and had been readmitted otherwise than as a returning resident.

I emphasise that the power to grant citizenship is not one in which we are free agents. We are limited by the terms of the statute, and in dealing with applications for registration we must have strict regard to the requirements about ordinary residence and the meaning that we are advised these have in law. In this connection the case of Regina v. Hussain (1971) is of interest—although it was not concerned with an application for registration—in that the Court of Appeal decided that a person who had been absent for 20 months but had retained his statutory right of re-entry under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 had, nevertheless, broken his ordinary residence. Although this was a decision given with respect to another statute it has a directly persuasive authority.

There is no appeals machinery for people who have been refused registration, except their right to contest our view of the matter in the courts if they desire. But a comprehensive review of the whole of our nationality law has been going on for some time, and the question of providing some form of machinery for appeals in such matters is one of the important issues which is being considered. I know that the issues raised in this debate will also be considered.

When an application has to be refused, that does not necessarily mean that the person may not acquire citizenship. In some instances he may still qualify for registration under the Pakistan Act on completion of a satisfactory period of five years, provided that he has been ordinarily resident here since immediately before 14th May 1973. There is the possibility that some may qualify to apply for a certificate of naturalisation. The fee for naturalisation is £40 and for registration it is £10.

It is inevitable, however, that whatever qualifications Parliament decides that an applicant for our citizenship must fulfil there will always be some who cannot qualify. We are always ready to reconsider a decision to refuse if fresh facts are brought to our notice. But if at the end of the day the refusal has to be maintained, these people are not Stateless. They are citizens of Pakistan who have been allowed to settle in this country, and there is no reason why they should not continue to live here.