HC Deb 23 October 1958 vol 592 cc253-5W
Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will report on the discussions between the Government of Aden and the Aden Trades Union Congress on questions of immigration policy.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

There have so far been no discussions between the Government of Aden and the Aden Trades Union Congress on questions of immigration policy; an offer made some time ago by the Government to meet representatives of the A.T.U.C. to exchange views on the subject has not yet been accepted. There has, however, been correspondence, arising from the Memorial presented by the A.T.U.C. to the Governor in connection with the 24-hours general strike on 25th April to which I referred in reply to a question put by the hon. Member on 15th May. It is the policy of the Government of Aden to provide opportunities for Adenese to acquire the necessary qualifications, standards and skills to enable them to undertake all forms of employment which are available in the Colony; but until such time as sufficient skilled local people are available for employment, certain essential posts must continue to be filled by people from outside the Colony, who will be permitted to enter under the present carefully controlled system of Entry Permits. With this policy in mind the Governor informed the Aden T.U.C. that he was unable to agree that the repeal of the Immigration Ordinance would resolve the difference in opinion existing between the Government and the A.T.U.C, over the question of the limited number of entry permits which are in fact issued, and that he was not prepared to prejudice the prosperity of the Colony by refusing the admission of skilled specialists who cannot yet be found amongst the local population. In a further letter the A.T.U.C. proposed the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to scrutinise all entry permits issued during the last five years and urged the early extension of training facilities for locally born people so that expatriates could rapidly be replaced. This proposal is receiving the Governor's attention and will be considered in connection with the report of a committee set up to examine the training of Adenese for the kinds of employment available; this report is expected shortly. I should make it clear that no evidence exists that there is danger of a massive influx of expatriates into the Colony. On the contrary the immigration statistics published monthly in the Government Gazette show over the past nine months an excess of departures over arrivals.

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