HC Deb 29 April 1926 vol 194 cc2213-6W

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he can state, with reference to paragraph 4 of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee appointed to consider the effect on migration of schemes of social insurance, in which it states that it is certain that migration has not substantially increased since the passing of the Empire Settlement Act, whether any information can be furnished as to what action is being taken, and when, to amend the Empire Settlement Act and to improve the machinery of the Overseas Settlement Committee, in order that the urgently needed redistribution of population within the Empire may take place?


I would refer my hon. Friend to paragraphs 5 to 8 of the Report, in which the Inter-Departmental Committee explain the causes which have affected the migration movement since the passing of the Empire Settlement Act. It will be observed that the Committee do not attribute the absence of increase in migration to defects in the Act itself or in the machinery of the Oversea Settlement Committee. I accept the Committee's view and I do not think any amendment of the Act or improvement of the existing machinery will effect the objects in view.


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he will give information as to the number of applications by men for assisted passages to Australia under the Empire Settlement Act during the years 1924 and 1925, respectively, and as to the number of rejections on medical grounds; and whether, in view of the attention drawn in the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee appointed to consider the effect on migration of schemes of social insurance, paragraph 8, as to rejections for lack of physical fitness, he will arrange for conferences with the Dominion Governments with a view to arriving at some standard of physical and mental fitness to obviate the disappointment caused by the existing arrangements?


The number of persons who applied for assisted passages to Australia during 1924 was 46,549, of whom 12,072 were accepted. In addition, 12,377 persons were nominated by friends or relatives in Australia. During the first six months of I925, 16,835 persons applied, of whom 5,316 were accepted, a further 7,241 persons were nominated. It must be remembered that only those considered to beprima facie suitable are encouraged to submit formal applications. The records do not differentiate between persons rejected on medical grounds or otherwise, but it is estimated that about 30 per cent. of the applicants interviewed are rejected as being below the physical requirements, and that of those provisionally accepted, from 5 per cent. to 10 per cent. are subsequently rejected on medical grounds. Copies of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on social insurance schemes and migration have been forwarded to the Dominion Governments, with a view to discussion at the forthcoming Imperial Conference.


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, with reference to paragraph 7 of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee appointed to consider the effect on migration of schemes of social insurance, which states that the restrictions on family migration are so serious that it is doubtful whether any adequate redistribution of population can take place until greater facilities are available overseas for the settlement of married people and their families, whether it can be stated what steps, if any, are being taken to remedy this; seeing that the group system of settlement inaugurated in Western Australia appears to be the most stable and satisfactory scheme, can it be stated when this system will be re-opened; and whether, in view of the satisfactory results obtained by the groups trained in England at Catterick before being sent out, a preliminary training and testing scheme can be inaugurated which shall be open to suitable families?


Careful consideration is being given to the possibility of providing additional openings for families overseas and the whole subject will be discussed at the forthcoming Imperial Conference. One of the most hopeful ways of effecting this object appears to be the extension of the system of collective nomination, under which Churches and other organisations overseas undertake the responsibility for the settlement of families selected by the parent organisation in this country. It is hoped that the Government of Western Australia will shortly re-open the Group Settlement Scheme inaugurated by them. The question of the provision of facilities for agricultural training in the United Kingdom is at present receiving consideration.


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what hostel accommodation for families actually exists in Australia and in Canada, respectively; where such hostels are situate; and how many each of them can accommodate at any one time?


Hostel accommodation is available for families at the following ports of disembarkation in Australia:

Fremantle, Western Australia:

This hostel is used for families proceeding under the Western Australian Group Settlement Scheme when in operation.

Richmond (Melbourne), Victoria:

Kangaroo Point (Brisbane), Queensland:

Accommodation is available for all classes of migrants.

Adelaide, South Australia:

Sydney, New South Wales:

Arrangements are made for accommodating families in hostels provided by voluntary societies.

The actual number of persons who can be accommodated in these hostels cannot be stated, but attention is invited to the Report of the British Oversea Settlement Delegation to Australia, 1924 (Cmd. 2132), May, 1924, pages 16–19 and 83–85 of which deal with the subject of hostel accommodation (both Government and voluntary) for migrant families and single women. A full list of hostels for women in the Commonwealth is given in the handbook issued to-women settlers by the Oversea Settlement Committee, and many of these hostels provide accommodation for families.

Hostel accommodation is provided for all classes of immigrants at the following Government Immigration Depots in Canada:

Halifax, accommodation for 2,000
St. John accommodation for 2,000
Quebec accommodation for 3,000
Winnipeg accommodation for 1,000
Montreal accommodation for 500
Edmonton accommodation for 500
Toronto accommodation for 250
Calgary accommodation for 250
Prince Albert accommodation for 100
and accommodation for 50 persons at each of the following depots: Athabasca, Edson, Grand Prairie, Peace River, Spirit River.

In addition there are Government hostels for single women at all the large centres, and hostels are maintained by voluntary organisations, e.g., the Salvation Army, the Young Men's Christian Association, throughout the Dominion, at which there is accommodation for families.

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