HL Deb 08 December 1948 vol 159 cc901-2WA

asked His Majesty's Government, (a) whether they can now give figures of the migration which transportation from the United Kingdom has proved possible for the first nine months of the current year to (i) Canada, (ii) Australia, (iii) New Zealand; (b) what figure it is now expected may be attained for the whole year 1949 to the same destinations; (c) what number of applicants for migration are reported as registered with the London offices of the same three Dominions; (d) whether in view of the further generous financial collaboration by Canada, more liberal release of funds of intending migrants to Canada can yet be announced, against the very meagre amounts last announced as permissive.


The answers to the four parts of this question are as follows:—

  1. (a) The numbers of migrants carried during the first nine months of 1948 were,
    • (i) to Canada—34,500: this figure includes movement by air; (ii) to Australia—approximately 14,000; (iii) to New Zealand—1,553.
  2. (b) Estimated migration in 1949 from the United Kingdom is—
    • (i) to Canada—40,000–50,000: these figures again include movement by air; (ii) to Australia—45,750; (iii) to New Zealand—3,000.

Both these sets of figures for Australia and New Zealand include only Government-arranged passages. Those who have travelled this year independently by sea for permanent residence in Australia or New Zealand would increase these totals to some 22,600 and 4,500 respectively. These latter figures would include Australian and New Zealand visitors to the United Kingdom who have been here over twelve months and who have now returned home; but they exclude those travelling via the Continent of Europe or by air. It is estimated that the total lifts by sea in 1949 may be as much as 65,000 to 72,000 to Australia, and 4,500 to New Zealand. Air movement figures for 1948 and 1949 are not at present available. It has been the policy of the United Kingdom Government to facilitate air travel, and to reduce the numbers of documents and other formalities for completion. A Working Party, set up by my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade, is at present trying to improve passenger statistics without imposing additional burdens on travellers, but a complete solution has not yet been reached.

(c) Prospective migrants to Canada are not "registered" by the Canadian authorities in London but are free to make their own individual arrangements. There is now no central register of those awaiting passages to Canada. Consequently no estimate of the number of would-be migrants to Canada can be given. Allocation of passages at the disposal of Australia House for migrants to Australia is restricted to applicants under the schemes now in operation by agreement between the United Kingdom and Australian Governments for free and assisted passages. Movement is at present limited by the amount of shipping available and the housing situation in Australia; the Australian Government are accepting only those who have an assurance of a home on arrival in Australia. As regards the numbers waiting to travel to Australia, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations stated in another place in June that the number then was estimated at 235,000. No information has since become available on which to base a revision of this figure, 3,000 migrants are understood to be registered with the High Commissioner for New Zealand under the New Zealand Government's migration scheme which is confined at present to single people without dependants. The number desiring to go to New Zealand is known to be larger than this but there is no definite figure available.

As to part (d), whilst fully appreciative of the general financial collaboration on the part of Canada, the United Kingdom Government do not feel able to increase the emigration allowance at the present time.

House adjourned at twenty-two minutes past five o'clock.