The British Immigration Control Policy History Essay

In Britain most in-migration has been lasting. British in-migration control policy has been influenced during clip by different elements like the volume of dissimilar in-migration, foreign policy considerations, external menaces and wars. From it ‘s beginnings until the early 20th century, Britain had a broad in-migration policy. Great Britain modulate in-migration merely twice in this period. First ordinance was the 1972-1973 Alien Act. It was phrased as a impermanent step and besides it was renewed at intervals until 1926. The 2nd limitation on in-migration arrived in 1848.Political instability in Europe generated a flow of political refugees, whose presence in England brought several perturbations. A good illustration is the 1792 instance when the external menace represented by those refugees led to the blessing of the Aliens Removal Act. This Act gave to the Home Secretary and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the power to behave any alien against whom written allegations had been made.

Britain kept a broad in-migration policy until the early 20th century. This policy was facilitated by the limited in-migration into Britain, by the similarity between most of the immigrants and the local population and by foreign policy considerations ( Smith1981 ) . In 1905 Parliament passed the Aliens Immigration Act. One of the grounds was the unprecedented inflow of Judaic immigrants. The 1905 Aliens Immigration act was administrated in a really broad manner by the broad authorities that came into power the undermentioned twelvemonth. Nevertheless, the act stayed on the books and its significance ballad in the breach with the rule of the old 80 old ages that Britain should be freely unfastened to in-migration from abroad. ( Rees 1979 ) . World War I produced the following limitation on in-migration to Britain. In August that twelvemonth, The House of Commons passed the Aliens Restriction Act. The 1914 statute law which was much tougher than the 1905 Act, gave the Home Secretary powers to forbid the entry of immigrants and to behave them. It was the first clip when foreigners had to register with the constabulary. The chief object of 1914 act, as presented by the Home secretary was to procure the detainment and remotion of undercover agents. It was renewed after the war by the Aliens Restriction Act of 1919. Even though during the 1920s and 1930s economic depression most of the states restricted in-migration, Britain avoided that to go on and more than that even emphasized its committedness to free migration within the Commonwealth. The way of migration changed one time Britain entered World War II and faced a deficit in work force.

After World War II the UK authorities faced an unprecedented state of affairs. Britain was no longer seen as a top universe power, and the construct of Commonwealth started to replace the impression of Empire. Politicians began to see in-migration as a agency to the terminal of reconstructing the state, at least partly, to its former international position. Yet the world of province sponsored in-migration and societal integrating of the period 1945-62 was markedly different to the sensed human-centered solidarity of 1939-45. To outdo semen to a decision it makes sense to measure consecutive UK authorities ‘s response to colored in-migration chronologically so as to estimate discernable displacements in policy over clip during the historical period in inquiry. Even though there were alterations of disposal and policy, the relationship between the province and immigrants remains changeless, ratified in parliament and meted out in legislation.Post-war in-migration issues were a interesting experience for the British authorities. Traditionally, and surely until the 1980 ‘s, the UK had been a state of net in-migration. After 1945, nevertheless, in-migration was actively encouraged as a affair of policy by the UK authorities for preponderantly economic grounds. Indeed, in 1947 the authorities commissioned an independent economic study. That study revealed that the general sentiment was that, foreign labour can do a utile part British demands and that the increasing of working population is does non hold to be a impermanent step.

In order to follow the study way, the freshly conceived National Health Service, London Transport and British Rail opened recruitment centres in the West Indies with the purpose to convey workers from over there to the UK, and though the Numberss recruited in these ventures were comparatively little to get down with, the move established a karyon of ethnicity in certain countries.

However, the sort of foreign labour recommended in the 1947 authorities study was non written with coloured immigrants in head. Alternatively, governments were believing more in footings of a nucleus white policy, which is in contrast to much of the retrospective coverage of in-migration propagandized today. In world, hence, in the old ages instantly following the terminal of the war, European immigrants were preferred to colourise, in malice of English being the first linguistic communication in the West Indies. Government governments were concerned, amongst other factors, with worker solidarity and the consequence that colored workers might hold upon the brotherhoods, which maintained a fragile, uneasy relationship with Westminster after 1945. Government records, released after 30 old ages, highlight the negative portraiture of coloured immigrants and the steps taken to barricade their entry in the UK, in malice of the sedate demand of economic Reconstruction. “ Examples of tactics employed were the hold in publishing passports and the skip of the mention to British capable position on travel paperss, even though the holder was entitled to such a mention. ”

Therefore, authorities policy was driven by impressions of colour in order to function both imperial and domestic expediences. The British Nationality Act ( 1948 ) was a important legal milepost because it began the conceptual separation between British and Commonwealth citizenship, the foundations upon which subsequent UK in-migration jurisprudence was to be based. At this occasion the authorities made no distinction between topics born in the UK and those born within the broader geo-strategic umbrella of the Commonwealth. This Act was, nevertheless, a theoretical move designed to make a sense of conceptual hegemony ; it shortly had to be revised in visible radiation of the world of figures of coloured immigrants coming into the UK via the New Commonwealth states and their consequence on the local population.

The major characteristic of the period 1945-62 was the absence of visa limitations with respects to ‘coloured ‘ immigrants. As calls for statute law grew more vocal, the high Numberss of new reachings to the UK was cited as the logical thinking behind the demand for stricter passport ordinance within the Commonwealth, yet the facts and figures do non underline this societal fright. “ Immigration of inkinesss and Asians was running at about 14000 per annum in the 1950 ‘s, but in 1961 there was a big rise. ” Even the comparatively high figures of in-migration from the New Commonwealth states in 1961 ( 66290 ) did non compare to a scene of urban overcrowding or aggregate unemployment. At the clip of the passing of the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act ( and later, Enoch Powell ‘s ill-famed ‘Rivers of Blood ‘ address ) most towns across the UK remained preponderantly white merely. Wales, for illustration, witnessed about no ‘coloured ‘ in-migration whatsoever during this period, and where ‘coloured ‘ people were found, they were localised entirely in the docks of the capital.

Even arch Conservative Simon Heffer concedes that the crisp rise in New Commonwealth in-migration figures in the 1950ss and early 1960ss did non will any serious political concerns for the authorities. “ Apparently, there were no great societal jobs. Perceivers from as far off as America had come to Birmingham to see how successfully it had assimilated its immigrants, and, with a immense demand still for labor in a tight market, there had been no existent job happening them skilled or semi-skilled occupations. ”

Therefore, alternatively of responding to existent socio-political troubles originating from in-migration, authorities governments were spurred on alternatively by the demands of the populace and, progressively, the media, who elevated the issue to an underserved position of national importance. Furthermore, single zealot policy issues clearly played a important function in the timing and mode of the executing of in-migration statute law. For case, in 1959 the Conservatives won an unprecedented 3rd back-to-back general election, giving the Tories a secure authorization. As the traditional centre-right party of the UK it is small surprise that they should supervise the passing of the most rigorous jurisprudence against ‘coloured ‘ immigrants, the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act. The jurisprudence can be seen as portion of a wide authorities policy of traveling towards European economic market brotherhood at the beginning of the 1960 ‘ , which necessitated a symbolic move off from the Commonwealth. As David Childs explains, “ Macmillan did win in converting his co-workers of the demand of this new going. ” Therefore, it becomes evident that in-migration statute law was driven by factors outside of the issues of Numberss, facts and figures of reachings into the state and was motivated alternatively by external geo-strategic issues.

In add-on, the British authorities shortly discovered that its definition of nationality as defined in the 1948 Act was outmoded. This, in bend, gave manner to the 2nd stage of post-war statute law get downing with the landmark 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, which imposed much more rigorous guidelines refering entry to the UK, and is the individual most of import piece of statute law within the boundaries of this essay. The Macmillan authorities was mostly moving in response to turning unrest in certain urban countries about the increased rate of ‘coloured ‘ colony. “ An sentiment canvass at the terminal of the old twelvemonth had indicated that 90 per cent of the population at big supported the new statute law. ”

Racial undertones were clearly present as the Act was centred upon immigrants from the New Commonwealth and did non concern in-migration from the Old Commonwealth or Ireland. Furthermore, the Act coincided with the granting of independency to a assortment of New Commonwealth provinces, with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago having official independency from the Crown in 1962. Clearly the British province was acute to lawfully specify the difference between being British and being a topic of the Empire in order to protect what it perceived as a delicate domestic balance. As Jack Watson concludes ; “ It was one thing to command in-migration – limitless population growing would add to Britain ‘s societal jobs – but the ferocious unfavorable judgment of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, both at place and abroad, centred on the statement that it was directed against in-migration from the New Commonwealth and non against in-migration in general. ”

Yet in malice of the reaching of the construct of quotas into the political discourse sing in-migration ( clearly still a pertinent factor in visible radiation of the Tories ‘ election run in May 2005 ) the Numberss of ‘coloured ‘ immigrants did non alter markedly after 1962. “ The 1962 Act sought to command in-migration by modulating the figure of workers able to come in the state. Since the motion was already controlled by labour demand, the statute law had small consequence in this way. ” Therefore, although the UK authorities responded to public sentiment, a strong sense of cultural high quality and political expedience, the world of the affair remained that in-migration, station 1945, was an economic and non a chauvinistic issue. Merely as the autochthonal population had complained in the aftermath of the inflow of immigrants from Ireland after the 1842 murphy blight, so the calls for rigorous in-migration steps against ‘coloured ‘ peoples during the period 1945-62 ought to be seen as simply a necessary phase in the coming of 20 first century, multiethnic Britain.

Immediately after election in 1997, New Labour ‘s in-migration policy traded to a great extent on the ‘modernisation ‘ rhetoric, with its first White Paper in 1998 assuring ‘a modern attack to in-migration and refuge ‘ . The subjects worked through in the gap chapter of that papers were:

Britain has benefited from in-migration ( accomplishments of the ‘Windrush ‘ coevals, etc ) ;

There had been an enlargement in the demand for legitimate travel, including economic and concern migration ;

That growing in refuge claims was a affair of concern.

All this adds up a ‘modern ‘ policy hinging on the thoughts of ‘fairness ‘ ( for those with legitimate outlooks for migration and travel ) , ‘fastness ‘ ( for the same group ) , and ‘firmness ‘ ( for ill-favored groups whose alleged maltreatment of migration channels needed to be clamped down on ) .

The alterations in policy which followed from this attack have been a grade of liberalization in household reunion processs, including the abolishment of the ‘primary intent regulation ‘ and new processs leting the admittance of same-sex spouses ; a ample enlargement of the range for skilled migration ; and steps to asseverate stronger controls over refuge searchers.

The execution of this strategic attack has proceeded across a figure of degrees. The liberalising facets have been consciously de-politicised, with authorities curates seeking to take treatment about the admittance of skilled workers from the kingdom of contention by take a firm standing on an ‘evidence-based ‘ attack to their steps, with a prima function for academic and independent research workers in the procedures. This was best exemplified by Home Office sponsorship of a ‘bridging the information spreads ‘ conference of faculty members and NGO representatives in March 2001, at which the so in-migration curate, Barbara Roche, argued that authorities was non in ownership of good, nonsubjective information on which to establish its in-migration reforms, and would trust on people in the audience to do the statements for them.

A misanthropic position of this scheme is that it intended to supply authorities with a get-out scheme in the event that its relaxation of in-migration controls on skilled workers becomes subject to unfavorable judgment in the tabloid media. It has expressed no such demand for independent research before moving on the 2nd leg of its policy – the doubling of limitations on refuge searchers. Anti-refugee narratives in the popular imperativeness have, in this country of policy at least, non been an hindrance for ‘fairer, faster, firmer ‘ policies, but about an indispensable stipulation.

The refugee limitations favoured by New Labour in its first point of statute law – the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999 – which involved abolishment of hard currency benefits for refuge searchers and a rigorous policy of dispersal – required a public temper of deep antipathy towards this group of people to let it to be carried through. The effects of striping people of the possibility of any grade of self-government in regard of their life in the UK, and off forcing them even further out of the mainstream of ordinary life, could easy be predicted. It would ensue in human rights misdemeanors ( peculiarly in relation to the right to household life ) , economic adversity because of grossly unequal degrees of support though the verifier strategy, and an addition in racist onslaughts against a group of people so widely proclaimed as being unworthy of better intervention.

The refugee support webs across the state shortly came alive with histories of how precisely these results were coming approximately, right up to the point of serious Acts of the Apostless of force and even the slaying of at least one refuge searcher. But no Oklahoman was the grounds of these black effects roll uping, than a reaction to the reaction emerged amongst groups who developed understandings with the refuge searchers. Faith groups lobbied curates over the grounds of increasing fiscal adversity and the obvious agony of refugee kids. Teachers, and even constabularies heads, went on record to kick against the impairment of civil dealingss between cultural groups in the school resort area and the wider community. The British Medical Association expressed grave concern over the worsening wellness of refugee communities, and the trades brotherhood motion, led by conveyance brotherhood leader Bill Morris, staged a rebellion against the voucher strategy. Clearly, refuge searchers had their protagonists and guardians, and these tended to be most vocal in the societal groups which the Labour authorities counted upon as their cardinal protagonists.

The fact seems to be that New Labour had ill prepared its nucleus constituencies for the Draconian steps it wanted to extol as the anchor features of its overall attack. The critics of refuge limitations were, by and big, ill briefed on the liberalising elements of the new policies. This had been intended by the authorities exactly because it feared a more extended recoil if treatment on the admittance of tonss of 1000s of workers on the work license strategy displaced ‘cheating refuge searcher ‘ narratives in the right wing yellow journalisms. A new Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who had replaced the old incumbent Jack Straw in a cabinet reshuffle in 2001, took the chance of the Labour party conference in October of that twelvemonth to denote yet another cardinal reconsideration of basic scheme.

During this following phase of New Labour ‘s attack, a displacement towards a more hard-bitten manner of battle with public sentiment could be noted. A 2nd White Paper emerged in February 2002, this clip underscoring a subject of ‘security ‘ in both its rubric ( ‘Secure Borders, Safe Haven ‘ ) – a extremely topical attack given obvious concerns originating from the September 11 onslaughts in the United States. But the large invention in this White Paper was to throw an unexpected limelight, non on the manque immigrants beyond the UK ‘s boundary lines, but those who had completed their migration decennaries antecedently and who thought of themselves as firmly settled in the UK. The issue of the ‘naturalisation ‘ of long-settled immigrant communities came onto centre phase as Home Secretary Blunkett sought to open up a new argument about the extent to which these groups had assimilated the typical values of UK society.

The background to this issue was provided by the summer public violences in several northern English towns in 2001. Experts noticing on these developments opened up treatment about the absence of ‘social coherence ‘ revealed by these developments. The principle ailment of one of the most influential of these observers – Lord Herman Ousley – was that poorness and deficiency of resources had prevented civic and other public governments from turn toing the grave job of racial division, which was a outstanding characteristic of these northern metropoliss. In the White Paper, concerns of this nature were non so subtly transformed into unfavorable judgment of immigrant communities themselves, for neglecting to take robust action to guarantee their integrating into mainstream society.

Blunkett was besides prepared to make more than had been done during Straw ‘s tuition at the Home Office to coerce public treatment of economic migration. A whole chapter of the White Paper discussed the issue of ‘working in the UK ‘ . The temper here was that authorities policy was leting British employers to ‘lead the universe ‘ in vigorous competition for the brightest and the best amongst the planetary work force. The reforms to the work license strategy of the old 18 months were set out in item, and the significant addition in the volume of people come ining in these classs became the badge of success. In the competition to guarantee that British concern had all the resources it needed to come out on top, the Labour authorities would non accept 2nd topographic point.

The White Paper therefore framed the whole inquiry of economic migration as being basically a affair of concern scheme, instead than anything to make with the rights of workers in progressively globalised labor markets. Indeed, the White Paper wandered into the terrain of sing the clear demand for less skilled workers, and concluded that this would be dealt with by opening up channels for impermanent, seasonal migration strategies, which have in pattern been associated with the frequently pitiless development of immature foreign pupils. It is clear from the attack set out in the White Paper that those workers admitted to run into local deficits in the informally-skilled sectors of touristry and cordial reception industries, building and agribusiness, will non get such rights as household reunion, equality of intervention, or long-run colony in the UK.

Economic impact

When seeking to find in-migration patterns the most of import component is immigration policy. Lots of people try to emigrate to more developed states for different grounds like political or economical benefits. Unfortuantely the chances are limited because of the in-migration control policy who decides the way of migration even though it is legal or illegal. Therefore in my paper I explored the figures that shape the in-migration control policy.

Economic theory suggests that the impact of in-migration is more likely to be little and to minimise in clip as the economic system adjusts to a larger labour supply. The theory came out after a big figure of surveies in across U.S. and UK.

The economic factor significantly influenced U.S. policy on lasting and impermanent migration. The U.S. needed immigrants in order to settle the South and the Midwest and to do the railwaies. Because of this during it ‘s first hundred old ages United States of America had a broad in-migration policy. Economic enlargement served to the admittance of immigrants after the Civil War and after World War II. On contrast economic downswings caused terrible limitations on in-migration. For illustration the fiscal terror in 1873 and the recession that followed in the succeeding old ages enliven a strong anti-chinese motion, particularly in California. The 1891-1897 depression and the 1893 fiscal terror generated a alteration of magnitude in the caput revenue enhancement, amendements, every bit good as twosome of efforts to present a literacy trial. The 1907-1908 recession had a major impact to the 1907 restrcition on the Nipponese in-migration. The great depression which took topographic point in 1920-1921 created limitations on legal an illegal Mexican in-migration, Filipino in-migration and the in-migration of hapless people in general. Much later in the early 1990s, a slow local economic system generated efforts to curtail illegal Mexican in-migration to California.


Most in-migration to Britain has been lasting. British in-migration control policy has chiefly been influenced by the volume of dissimilar in-migration. Restrictions on lasting in-migration were passed in response to influxs of Eastern European, New Commonwealth immigrants and illegal immigrants asylum searchers. In UK the nexus between the figure of immigrants and in-migration control policy was often made explicit. For illustration the place secretary justified the 1986 infliction of visa demands on immigrants from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, and Bangladesh by reasoning that the figure of people in the Third World who were seeking better chances was big and turning. A statement issued by the Home Office maintained that the alteration became necessary in order to keep the effectivity of in-migration control in the face of force per unit area upon it. The nexus between the composing of in-migration and in-migration control policy was besides apparent: the oppositions of Russian Judaic in-migration emphasized the cultural and cultural features of the immigrants ; a Royal Commision on the West Indian in-migration stated its concern about the socialization of immigrants of a different race. The in-migration act of 1971 was rewritten after detecting that it made it merely as hard for Canadian, Australian, and New Zealandian to come in the United Kingdom as it did for coloured Commonwealth citizens ; Irish immigrants continued to be free of limitations and to bbe accorded full citizenship rights. Compared with the U.S. , the province of the economic system had a weaker influence on lasting in-migration policy and refuge than the volume of dissimilar in-migration. Most limitations on in-migration did non co-occur with the economic recessions: the limitations of 1792, 1914, 1961-1962, 1965, 1968 and 1971 were approved during periods of comparatively low unemployment. Restrictions on refuge searchers continued after 1994 despite diminishing unemployment. Several surveies did associate the province of the economic system with resistance to in-migration at the local degree. The impact of the 1961 recession inspired broader based resistance to in-migration. The impact of the recession was uneven, and despite overall occupation creative activity, London and Birmingham which were the lone two metropoliss to demo a postwar diminution in fabricating employment, were besides the centre of resistance to in-migration. The province of economic system at the national degree has had greater influence on British labour migration policy than on its lasting in-migration policy. In response to labour deficits, Britain recruited colonial labour during World War II abd established the European Volunteer Workers plan in 1947. A worsening economic system caused Britain to publish fewer work licenses to non EU workers during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Labor deficits led to the constitution of foreign workers strategies in the agriculture, nursing, and hi-tech sectors get downing in 1996. The lowest unemployment rates in two decennaries contributed to programs for a renewed syst