HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 cc1434-5W
Captain Briscoe

asked the Home Secretary what policy he proposes to follow during the war in dealing with applications for naturalisation?

Sir J. Anderson

I am anxious to continue, despite war conditions, the policy of granting naturalisation after careful examination to suitable applicants who have settled here and thrown in their lot with this country; but detailed police inquiries are necessary before a decision can be reached, and the amount of time which the police can properly give to such inquiries is limited. The number of applications received in the last 12 months is abnormally large, and at the present time there are over 5,000 cases outstanding, 4,000 of which were received before the outbreak of war. In these circumstances, I have decided that such time as is available shall be devoted to dealing with applications received before the outbreak of war. Moreover, in order that the number of cases which the police are asked to take up in any one week or month may be limited, the process of dealing with these outstanding applications must be spread over a lengthy period; and until the expiration of that period it will not be possible to take up applications made after the outbreak of war. Applications made before the outbreak of war will be dealt with in rotation according to the dates on which they were received, and I hope that hon. Members will refrain from asking for priority for any cases in which they are specially interested. Unfairness and further delay are liable to be caused unless there is close adherence to the practice of referring cases to the police for inquiry in an orderly rotation according to the dates of the applications.

Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Home Secretary whether a friendly alien, placed in category B by the aliens tribunal, is at liberty to seek employment; and, if not, will he state the reason?

Sir J. Anderson

When a German or Austrian is placed by the tribunal in category B—i.e., the category of persons who are exempted from internment but not exempted from the special restrictions in the Aliens Order applicable to enemy aliens—this decision is taken because in the view of the tribunal his friendliness to this country is not so clearly demonstrated that he can properly be exempted from these security requirements. If such an alien has an opportunity of employment in an occupation where his employment will not be detrimental to the interests of British workers, the Home Office will not refuse to allow him to take such employment merely because he is subject to the special restrictions.