HC Deb 19 November 1941 vol 376 cc345-7W
Mr. Crawford Greene

asked the Home Secretary what is the position of foreign refugees with regard to service in His Majesty's Forces, or in work of national importance; whether compulsion can be employed; if so, whether it is being employed; and who pays the cost of maintenance of those who receive asylum in these islands without giving service in return?

Mr. Bevin

I have been asked to reply. A large number of foreign refugees are serving as volunteers in the British and Allied Forces and the Allied Governments, established in this country have been calling up their nationals on a voluntary basis for service in their national forces. Proposals for legislation to authorise the conscription of allied nationals are under consideration. As regards foreign refugees of enemy origin, I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 7th October, 1941, to the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn). As regards civilian work of national importance, refugees of Belgian, Czech, Netherlands, Norwegian, Polish and French nationality, as well as those of Austrian, German and Italian nationality who, if males, are between the ages of 16–65 and if females between the ages of 16–50, are required to register their particulars with a view to the utilisation of their services in the most suitable manner. I have powers to issue directions to all foreigners to undertake civilian employment and those powers are being exercised where necessary and subject to security considerations. Refugees from Allied territories in the occupation of the enemy or from other territories from which they have been evacuated to this country receive assistance from British public funds if they are unable to obtain employment or have lost their employment; refugees from Nazi oppression who arrived in this country prior to the war and are unemployed and without means are, unless they satisfy the statutory conditions for the receipt of unemployment benefit or assistance, normally cared for by one of the refugee organisations or by private persons who acted as their guarantors on their admission to this country.

Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make inquiries into the case of Dr. Rosendorff, a specialist, of Bridge Lane, Golders Green, at present employed as a lift attendant, with a view to making better use of his qualifications?

Mr. E. Brown

I have been asked to reply. I am informed that the Central Medical War Committee has already written to this doctor concerning certain vacancies which have occurred in his specialty and is awaiting his reply.