§ 2.36 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government if it has been found possible to control the influx into this country of Pakistanis of the non-labouring class, of whom considerable numbers are now stated to be dependent on public assistance for their support and that of their families.]
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, as the noble Lord will know, the recent sharp rise in immigration from Pakistan, as well as from India, has become a matter of concern to Her Majesty's Government. The Governments of India and Pakistan share this concern. I have recently been in close touch with them, and am glad to say that they are now taking a variety of further measures designed to reduce the flow of migrants coming to this country. In the past few months the great majority of these immigrants have been unskilled labourers, most of whom speak 618 little or no English and who cannot therefore easily find employment.
As regards genuine students coming to recognised places of learning with the support of their Government, they are always welcome here. The Pakistan authorities have informed me that no "students" other than genuine ones should have travelled to this country since the end of April. At that time fresh instructions were issued to passport authorities in Pakistan under which all prospective student migrants have to produce a letter of admission to an appropriate educational institution in this country. I am aware of a few isolated instances in which persons describing themselves as students from Pakistan have in the past, shortly after their arrival, gone on to National Assistance. I have drawn the attention of the Pakistan Government to these cases. I have no evidence, however, to suggest that this is a widespread development. I feel confident that the measures which the Pakistan Government have now adopted will go a long way towards ensuring that only genuine students are in future provided with passports valid for travel to this country for educational purposes.
§ LORD HAILEY
My Lords, I hope that the noble Earl will allow me to ask him just one supplementary question. Would he allow me to send to him for his perusal the information I have on this particular point? I think he will find it of interest.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl whether in those cases where Pakistanis have been employed and are now out of work, it is understood that there should be insistence on priority of their dismissal because they are newcomers, as against old residents of equal efficiency?
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I am not quite sure that I follow the noble Lord's question. But I would say that so far as immigration is concerned the approximate figures in the last three months are very much down—from 1,934 in February to 433 in April—and so I hope that this problem will work itself out in the very near future. So far as 619 I know—I am certain, indeed—there is no discrimination either for or against Pakistanis in this country.