§ 3.17 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN rose to move, That this House takes note of the Statements of Immigration Rules for Control on and after Entry: Commonwealth Citizens, and E.E.C. and other Non-Commonwealth Nationals, made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and laid before the House on January 25, 1973. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am afraid I must confess that I have come unprepared for this afternoon's debate. I am almost at a loss to know how to continue. I did not realise that it was the convention that the first speaker in a debate on Tuesday afternoon had to ornament his speech with a wealth of classical allusions. As to my own identity in classical mythology, I know I am not one of the Furies; I hope not a Cyclops with one single eye fixed forever on the subject of citizenship or immigration. I also very much hope that I am not a Cassandra with nothing but gloom and doom to give your Lordships this afternoon. Rather I hope to be able to prove to the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, that I am an Orpheus come to play sweet music to the Government with a wealth of constructive and harmonious ideas. I would also like to be harmonious at the beginning by taking this opportunity of congratulating the Government for at least taking the decision to re-unite many of the families who have been split after the confusion in Uganda. I congratulate the Government for taking the step they have just tentatively taken in this area.
§ We are doing something slightly curious this afternoon. We are not at a christening; we are at a funeral. We are going through the obsequies—and I hope if I have got it wrong the noble Viscount will leap to his feet and correct me—as laid down in Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act, which went through 538 your Lordships' House and another place with so many trials and tribulations. We are debating a Statement of the Rules or any change in the Rules that the Secretary of State shall lay down from time to time. We cannot alter them; we cannot remove any rule that we dislike; we cannot say that a particular sentence is no good. All that we can do is to come along and make some brief (I hope) funeral orations on what has already been decided, and in this case, passed, by another place.
§ As your Lordships will have observed, the new Rules are to be in a different form from the version which was rejected by the other place. As a just reward, I suppose, instead of there being two Statements of Rules (as in the rejected version) there are now four Statements of Rules; so that we have twice as much. I think that this is an improvement because it makes clearer the distinction between the provisions for the E.E.C. and non-Commonwealth nationals and the provisions for the Commonwealth citizens. Although it is really too late to make any alteration and we have no alternative but to swallow them en bloc, I should like to make some specific criticisms of the Rules. There are some particular cases of changes that give one cause for thought. For example, what Mr. Enoch Powell called the "re-introduction of the qualifying grandmother", the grand-patrial clause, by the back door, is something about which I hope the noble Viscount will be able to reassure us. He may be able to tell us whether it is constitutionally proper that a provision struck out by a Committee of one House can be re-introduced by by means of subordinate rules some time later; although I admit the form of the re-introduced provision is almost, but not quite, the same.
There are one or two questions about changes between this and the former version of the Rules which I should like to put to the Minister. In the previous version (that rejected by another place) there was a phrase in Rule 16 which read:
Admission as a visitor does not authorise the taking of employment for which a work permit is required.
This is a point about which a Member of your Lordships' House has asked me a question—mistakenly, I think, for I am
not an expert on this matter. Whether you are allowed to work when you are admitted as a visitor is a tricky point and one which will arise from time to time. What has happened is this. In the new divided Rules this sentence is omitted in one form but retained in the other. It is omitted from HC79 but, as I understand it, it is retained in HC81.
§ There is the same sort of thing, the same strange lack of harmony between the two versions. For example, there is the discrepancy on supervised departure as an alternative to deportation. If the Minister, either now or in writing, could explain to me why this discrepancy should have arisen now that the Rules have been divided, I should be interested; because I should have thought that it was rather a strange thing to happen without any explanation or reason.
§ My Lords, perhaps one of the more constructive things that I can do this afternoon is to use some of the experience I have gained from going frequently to the countries of the E.E.C.—which I do as a Member of the European Parliament. Looking at these Rules when they first appeared, I was very interested to know whether our Statements of Rules covering nationals of the E.E.C. complied with their Rules. I took some pains to find out. I hope the noble Viscount can reassure the House that this matter has been gone into thoroughly—and I am sure that it has—because the official answers I get from the research staff in the European Parliament make it plain that this country has no obligation to show the authorities of the E.E.C. our Rules until they have been passed by both Houses of Parliament. The E.E.C. cannot officially take cognisance of our Rules until they are passed by both Houses. What happens if they do not like them? What happens if they do not fit in with everything they demand?
§ My information is that the formal processes do not require us to go closely into the form of the Rules with them before we have put them through Parliament. A reason behind my asking this question is that one of the Rules, that covering the freedom of movement and the rights of establishment of labour under the Treaty of Rome, lays down that when a person who is a national of 540 a member State is moving about between one country and another of the Common Market he is entitled to take what the French call his conjoint (spouse). This is very much at variance with some of our citizenship laws. So far as the rights of transferring between husband and wife are concerned, we very much tend to think that they should go one way only. Perhaps there are some potential clashes here.
§ My Lords, there is one last point on the E.E.C. that I should like to bring forward. There is an Act, which I gather is still partly in force and which affects the Rules we are debating to-day, called the Aliens' Restrictions (Amendment) Act 1919. It has not been repealed in its entirety and, among other things (I must admit that this has now been repealed), it forbids any alien to change his name. I am informed by a Written Answer of yesterday that there are still sections of it in force which prohibit aliens from holding any pilotage certificates for any pilotage districts in the United Kingdom. If we have legislation of this sort on our Statute Book, are we sure that the E.E.C. Rules that we are talking about to-day comply with the conditions laid down by the Community for free movement of labour?
§ I should like now to come to what I hope is the constructive thing that I have to say this afternoon. As some of your Lordships may be all too painfully aware, I have been interested in this subject for some time. Since I have been going to the rest of Europe so often, I have found myself even more vividly aware of the confusion existing in our present citizenship laws. This is nothing particularly startling or new to say, but I think that the confusion of our citizenship laws is one of the underlying factors behind the disquiet and the despair in many quarters on subjects such as immigration and race relations. There is a feeling that something is being hidden and kept away. Governments are far too likely to wait until there is a crisis before acting in this field. We have had so many Immigration Acts recently—1962, 1968 and 1971—and decisions have had to be taken so fast that when taken they are not always the best decisions. I hope that before the next crisis arises, before the problem hits us all in the face and before we are forced to do something quickly 541 and therefore perhaps not entirely in a thought-out manner, we shall take steps to begin to tackle our citizenship problems. I would suggest to your Lordships that one of the ways we might do this is to have a Joint Select Committee of both Houses to look at the problem, study it and to make recommendations; or perhaps just a Committee of your Lordships' House where we have so much experience and wisdom of these matters from the great servants of the Empire and Commonwealth. Between the Houses we might mount a very powerful team to look at this problem.
During the passage of the Immigration Bill 1971, the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack told the House:
The law in relation to citizenship, immigration and status is in a state of utmost confusion."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24/6/71, col. 1146.]
As those who followed that Bill will be aware, the Immigration Act of 1971 did nothing to improve the situation in regard to citizenship but only complicated the position, so that while what the noble and learned Lord said was true before the Bill was law, it is even more true now and I think we must begin to think out some of the very difficult decisions we will have to take on this subject before they are forced upon us. I believe that such a Joint Select Committee could do a great service by being a focus for collecting the relevant information and for making some practical recommendations in the light of evidence which it would collect which would in itself be something that could relieve anxiety, because people would feel that something was being done, someone was looking at the problem, and we were not waiting for the explosion which would force us to something drastic.
§ I hope I have been a mixture of Cassandra and Orpheus and that this debate will continue in the same vein. I feel that the fact that we have to have this debate at all shows that all is not entirely well with our immigration and citizenship laws. I believe the ideas I have ventured to suggest to your Lordships could be a small beginning to cutting down some of the anxiety and replacing it with a more confident certainty. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House takes note of the Statements of Immigration Rules for 542 Control on and after Entry: Commonwealth Citizens and EEC and other Non-Commonwealth Nationals, made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and laid before the House on January 25, 1973.—(Lord O'Hagan.)
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I am sure we are grateful to the noble Lord Lord O'Hagan, for having provided us with an opportunity to have another look at the Immigration Rules, Rules which are slightly amended, although perhaps not as much as some of us would have wished, compared with those originally laid before us a little while ago. We look forward with keenest interest to hearing the two noble Lords who have chosen this occasion for making their maiden speeches. I am sure they will contribute greatly to our store of wisdom on what I think we all agree is a difficult and sensitive subject.
Looking back, I think one was perhaps more disturbed than one realised at the time of the statements made by the Home Secretary in another place on January 25 when he introduced these four sets of Rules to Parliament. When one considers the matter, it really is astonishing that a senior Minister of the Crown can say that it is important to reduce the immigration of citizens of other countries, both Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth, to the inescapable minimum when he is introducing a set of Immigration Rules which will in fact give, or extend, rights of immigration to this country to well over 200 million persons. I am speaking, of course, not only of the very large number who hypothetically would have the right to come here from the countries of the European Community, which admittedly make up the great majority of the figure I mentioned, but also of the additional rights given under these Rules to those Commonwealth citizens who can now provide, as Mr. Powell mentioned, the qualifying grandmother. There are other extensions not so significant but nevertheless included which will affect some people more favourably than others, particularly of course those who come for a working holiday, as it is called. This facility is now to be extended from three to five years. There will also be extensions of time limits for visitors; that factor is not discriminatory but could apply equally to everyone.
543 The basic objections to the Rules very largely remain untouched in regard to this revised version. Some of your Lordships feel more strongly about this than others. They include the very favourable conditions for those coming here from the other Members of the European Community compared with Commonwealth citizens. Especially is this so in relation to the members of their families whom they are allowed to bring without let or hindrance, whereas Commonwealth citizens are not able so to do. May I remind your Lordships that a person coming here from Europe may bring in not only his wife and dependent children, but may also count as dependent children those up to the age of 21 rather than 18, which applies to the Commonwealth or, in certain circumstances in the Rules, strictly speaking only to those of 16 years of age. Such a person is also allowed to bring in parents and grandparents, again without having to comply with the extremely stringent conditions laid down in the Rules for citizens from other parts of the Commonwealth.
So it is with very mixed feelings that one still has to regard these Rules. The major change that has been made has been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan. It is what is called the "grandparent clause", and it has been included by the Government for reasons which politically are perfectly understandable. They were under great pressure from those who felt that some means must be found of indicating that we have a very special connection with persons from what, incorrectly, were called the old Commonwealth countries. Historically, that is not so. What was really meant was former white Dominions.
We ought just to examine the consequences of the Government having inserted this provision into the new Rules. I do not propose to quibble unduly about the constitutional propriety of putting into the Rules something quite deliberately reversed by Parliament when the principal Act on which these Rules are dependent went through Parliament. Parliament in its wisdom turned down the grandparent clause, and now it is brought in by the backdoor. It is just sufficiently different in law for the Government to be able to say that it is not 544 in fact the precise provision that Parliament turned down. It is something of a legal quibble, but one can perhaps understand the political interests which led to the change. But I think one can fairly ask the Government whether, taking a slightly longer view, it has been worth making this change. I do so partly in the light of the statement by the Home Secretary on January 25, when he said, as I think we would all accept, that the actual number of persons likely to come to Great Britain for settlement from Australia, New Zealand and Canada is, in practice, likely to be few.
It was emphasised last week in the debate on these Rules in another place that in fact, if one looks at what has happened over the past few years, there has been a considerable net outflow from Britain of people from Australia, Canada and New Zealand who came here either just as visitors, or who came, did not really like it, and went home again. The figures suggest that net outflow of citizens from these countries has been about 250,000 in the past six years or so, so the numbers concerned in practice are going to be very small. And, of course, because it is linked not to citizenship of these particular countries, but to the grandparents of the persons concerned, the provision, while it may be gratifying to those who have the necessary grandparent, may also be regarded, and we understand has been regarded, as insulting by those Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders who do not have such a grandparent, although they are full and proper citizens of the countries concerned. This is making a distinction between citizens of those countries which is far from being acceptable to all the population there including, for example, French Canadians and others who would not be able to claim this right although their next door neighbours are able to do so. The excuse given by the Home Secretary for bringing in the grandparent was:that we need not in any way feel ourselves wrong in recognising close and genuine recent family ties with this country.Well, my Lords, family ties, as we mentioned on an earlier occasion, could go back at least 150 years, which is not exactly recent. And, as against the kind of very distant and remote connection, one has far closer and live connection of people who are here but whose close 545 living relatives are not allowed to join them except under the most stringent conditions.
The real objections, however, to having reinserted the grandparent clause is that it gives the appearance to people overseas of being racially biassed. I know again that it can be said that it is not so in form, but in practice, at least in the fairly near future, it is bound to appear to be so; and I think it has made things much more difficult, for example, in countries like India, which recognise that these particular provisions are directed not to help their former citizens, but those of other countries in the Commonwealth who are predominantly white. I very much doubt whether, even at the price of purchasing peace within their own Party, the Government were justified in putting back this grandparent clause.
Having said that, I should like to ask one or two questions as to just how the Government expect the provisions in the Rules to work. We have had issued almost simultaneously with the Rules some notes from the Department of Employment on the work permit scheme. I think it would be helpful if these could be enlarged upon a little so that we may know exactly what is the policy of the Government. For example, it is said that:Permits will be issued in future only for work requiring professional qualification, skill or experience and where the employment of an overseas worker is necessary.There are a few exceptions. The exception for Malta we all know and accept; and there are certain exceptions for seasonal agricultural work, hotel employment and the like. But, broadly speaking, the provision is as I have said. I think we are entitled to ask that if such provisions are made they shall be firmly and equitably administered. When we were discussing this on an earlier occasion, the Minister of State may recall that I mentioned the people from the Philippines who had come here, as it seemed to me, quite unjustifiably, more particularly when at that time we were concerned with Asians from East Africa who could well to my mind, have been trained to do any work that the Filipino ladies have been doing. I was astonished to find from a Question which the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, put down recently that last year work permits were given to no fewer than 546 2,677 persons from the Philippines, some of them, it has been revealed, coming to work here under most unsatisfactory conditions, both at low pay, and being obliged to enter into a bond, if they could not stand the working conditions here and did not stay for the necessary period, to repay their air fare, which for a distance of that kind must be quite substantial, out of their own pockets. When we have all the fuss that has been made over the Uganda Asians and others coming here, and when one finds this significant number of young women are imported for the benefit of certain manufacturers in this country, at low wages and with unsatisfactory living conditions—and particularly having regard to this question of the bond, which seems to have escaped all scrutiny by the Department of Employment, or whoever it was who was responsible—then one feels that a certain element of hypocrisy enters into this. We shall be happy to have assurances from the Minister of State when he comes to reply that there will be a stricter concern over conditions under which people are brought to work in this country.
Then, my Lords, there are some other matters in relation to the Rules which it would be helpful if we could have cleared up. I should be interested to know a little more about the matter of extending the working holiday (as it is called) from three years to five years. Five years is a very long time for a holiday of any kind. One would like to know what kind of work is contemplated as being permissible. There is no mention of these working holidaymakers in these notes on the work permit scheme that were issued last month. Nor is there any definition, so far as I can find, of what is meant by the word "young" in Rule 28 of the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control of Entry. There is reference to "young Common wealth citizens", but we are not told what that means. There is something about which we should be a little clearer, because again it is expected that these working holidays will be indulged in mostly by those who are white members of the Commonwealth, from Australia, Canada and New Zealand—they will not actually exclude others—and it appears as if this is a backdoor concession, in addition to the grandparent concession. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I 547 have no objection to young people coming in and extending their experience by being in this country, but I do not think we should give the impression that we are doing something in a hole-and-corner way, and therefore we should know precisely what are the conditions contemplated.
In earlier discussions on these matters some of us felt fairly strongly about the bias against women in a number of these rules. Some of the points, following protests made on earlier occasions, have been slightly modified. For example, with regard to family deportation, the woman concerned, if her husband is deported, is not given any actual further substantial rights, but the instructions that the conditions which are to be taken into account in making decisions have been somewhat modified, and for that we are grateful. But there are one or two curious conditions which makes one wonder just how the mind of the Government works. For example, in his statement on January 25, as I understood it, the Home Secretary took credit for one of his four main points when he was describing the Rules. He said that Commonwealth citizens who marry women who reside here will themselves be admitted for settlement provided they had a grandparent born here—obviously trying to get some credit for doing something for women who reside here and who are perplexed about the way in which they have been treated.
In that case, of course, these men were entitled to come here anyway, and whether they are married or not or proposed to marry over here or not is neither here nor there. It seems quite absurd to appear to be taking credit for some concession and for rectifying the bias against women whereas when one analyses the supposed concession one finds there is no such thing. I do not wish to weary the House by going into further details, since the matter is really rather complex.
A number of other questions have been asked, one of them being about the various estimates of the numbers of categories of citizens who are now here. The Sunday Times a few weeks ago suggested that there were six categories. My own calculation is that there must be at least eight categories of persons who are concerned under these Rules. I was much 548 interested in the final suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that we in Parliament should do what we could to examine and to expedite a review of the law of citizenship. I am well aware that the right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary has said that a Departmental study is proceeding on this matter. That is all well and good, but this state of affairs has now been going on for a very long time. It would be extremely interesting to hear the view of the Government on the suggestion that Parliament itself might be able to expedite the matter. If any suitable terms of reference can be worked out for a Select Committee from this House or for a Joint Select Committee with another place, I am sure I can speak for my noble friends on this side of the House in saying we should be very happy to co-operate with it.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ LORD PORRITT
My Lords, I crave the indulgence and forbearance of this noble House for a maiden speech, an experience which I am intrigued to find, despite the fact that I have reached and indeed passed the biblical age of three score years and ten, is as abrasive as that of a new boy going to school for the first time. Not unnaturally, I paid particular attention to what I hope I may call the "model maiden" made by the noble Duke, the Duke of Marlborough, about two weeks ago. I would hope to emulate his timing and brevity, but in choosing to take part in this discussion I cannot really claim to have eschewed a contentious subject. However, I am sure that your Lordships will agree that, referring to the debate in which the noble Duke spoke, we were all made fully aware that even in a simple matter concerning the protection of the humble badger it was possible to produce a remarkable number of divergent opinions.
When I went to New Zealand some five years ago as the representative of Her Majesty, I was delightfully and tactfully advised that in any pronouncements I chose to make it would be wise not to allow them to be labelled "political" or "contentious". This I found, frankly, to be quite impossible; and it is for that reason that I have to-day taken a calculated chance in speaking to this particular Motion. After all, I think your Lordships will agree that it is difficult in to-day's world to find any subject which 549 is not contentious, or controversial—and probably it is a good thing that this should be so. I intend to deal only with those portions of the revised Immigration Rules for control on entry and after entry as they apply to Commonwealth citizens, and especially to New Zealand citizens. For these latter, I feel entitled to speak both from a birth qualification and from a very intimate knowledge of the country, its people and its way of life that I have been fortunate enough to glean in the last few years; but I hope your Lordships will agree that what I have to say applies in varying degrees to other Commonwealth countries, and particularly to the old Dominions.
First of all, I feel it would be churlish not to express appreciation of the valiant efforts of the right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary to mix oil and water. That there is some improvement in the revised Rules of January 25, 1973, one must admit: that there is not enough results from the fact that, under existing conditions, the path of the Home Secretary is very like that which Agag had to tread. In this connection we are dealing with people—in the case of New Zealanders, with our own kith and kin It would be very easy to treat the problem in a sentimental way, but I believe I am right in saying that this has already been done in this noble House. Your Lordships may also feel that the very word "Maiden", referring to a speech, carries a concept of sentimentality. I would personally prefer to consider sentiments in their literal meaning of "feelings", and would humbly suggest that often the feelings of people outweigh in value the facts of pounds and new pennies.
I think it is a consideration of such values in this mercenary, material, fast-moving and mechanised world in which we live that motivates the youth (the often sadly undisciplined youth) of to-day. They, quite often thoughtfully and honestly, object to restrictions and limitations on their activities which they consider unnecessary. I believe that New Zealanders and others will look upon even these revised Rules governing entry to this country in a rather similar way, Let us remember that during the whole of the 140 years of its British history, New Zealand was born in and has lived by British tradition: its way of life, de 550 fence commitments, trade connections and cultural interests have all been inherently British. It is therefore unthinkable to the New Zealander that he should not be admitted freely to the country which he still calls, almost reflexly, "home" "the old country" or "the Mother country".
Searching through the intricate and involved phraseology of the revised Rules, one finds only one clause, Clause 27, which provides for anything approaching free entry—this is the clause which has been referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady White—and which applies to those who are so-called "patrials", or now the "grand-patrials". Is it appreciated that even this small group will in the course of nature become extinct in the next generation, or most certainly by the end of the century? For them at the moment the original insult has been tactfully converted into an inconvenience or an annoyance, though the hurt remains; but for their children—British children, my Lords—it will be a case, as it is now for non-patrials, of multiple restrictions and limitation of entry, the necessity of producing innumerable forms of various descriptions from various official Departments, of carrying birth and marriage certificates, confirmation of financial solvency and good conduct medals. And if and when they do gain entry, they will be limited as to the time that can be spent in the country, and restricted as to what they can do with that time. It would seem that under the existing Rules they will probably spend most of such time as is allowed to them in seeking extension of stay or removal of restrictions on their activities. Does any other country in the world put up such barriers against its own people?
My Lords, I would not for one moment plead a special case for New Zealand; such a connotation to-day, as your Lordships know, has an unpleasant aroma. I suggest, therefore, that there is no case at all. While one appreciates that exceptions make bad laws, it is usually admitted that the best of rules must allow for them. I must say that I find it an odd thought that had these Rules been in existence fifty years ago when I came to this country, I should probably have gained entry under the patrial clause, but I should almost certainly have been denied the privilege of addressing this 551 noble House to-day. If I am to live with my conscience I must wholeheartedly support this Motion, and hope that it may lead to some constructive action.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ LORD FOOT
My Lords, it falls to my happy lot to be able to be the first to express pleasure and satisfaction to the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, on his maiden speech to which we have just listened. The attention that the House has given to it, and the clear interest which the House has shown in every word the noble Lord has spoken to us, will have conveyed already to him how much his speech has been appreciated. I took the precaution, when I saw that I was to follow the noble Lord, of having a look at his record in a well-known work of reference. I came across one item in the vast list of achievements and positions that the noble Lord has occupied which particulary interested me: I see he was a Brigadier in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the 21st Army Group. That enables me to point out that I have therefore a very remote and tenuous connection with the noble Lord. It so happened that for a short period of time I was attached to a brigade field ambulance under the authority at the top of the 21st Army Group. Therefore, in a remote sense I am able this afternoon to salute my very superior senior officer after a period of thirty years. It is an opportunity which I take with great satisfaction.
In discussing this subject which the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has raised, my mind goes back to the debate that we had in this House on Second Reading of the Immigration Bill in 1971. I have looked back to see how the Act was commended to us at that time by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, who was in charge of the measure on behalf of the Government. I was particularly interested to remind myself of the objectives and the criteria which the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, offered to the House as being the justification of that Bill.
The noble Lord attached particular importance to three criteria. The first criterion was that he thought it would be universally agreed that there was a general desirability of setting out clearly and simply in one comprehensive Statute the law controlling immigration into this country. The second criterion was that the Bill and the law should be as short 552 and explicit as possible. The third criterion, and the most important for my present purposes, was that the Bill, the noble Lord said, proposed a new, single—and I emphasise the word "single"—system of control over all immigration—and I emphasise the words "all immigration"—from overseas to which everyone would be subject, except the patrials. That was the objective which was given to us when we first discussed that Bill in this House not so long ago.
I welcome the Rules which we now have in front of us on one count at least—and possibly on only one count—because if one reads the Rules one finds that they spell out perfectly clearly how the Government have utterly failed to meet the criteria which were laid down at the very beginning by which we could judge whether they had succeeded in their purpose. The first objective was clear and simple. I suggest it would challenge the ingenuity of anyone to produce a set of Rules more obscure, more difficult and more complicated than we have in these papers. On the matter of brevity, we have no fewer than 73 pages of these Rules. On the matter of explicitness, I simply ask this question. Is there any noble Lord here, with the exception of the Minister, who is always fully aware of everything, who could put his hand on his heart, having read these Rules, and say that he understands them all and understands all their implications?
Then, what of the criterion that there should be one single system of control for all immigrants, except patrials? That is completely in tatters; it has gone to the winds. The Community and Race Relations unit of the British Council of Churches have made an examination of these Rules, and in doing that they have succeeded in identifying no fewer than eight different categories of people, of potential entrants to this country, who are differently treated under these regulations, either on entry, or after entry, or sometimes in both situations. How can it possibly be contended that Rules that produce that result fulfil the test of being a single system applicable to all?
The fact that the Government have not succeeded in that is demonstrated by the fact that they have seen fit to issue two sets of Rules, one for dealing with Commonwealth immigrants and one for dealing with others. If this is a single system 553 of control applicable undiscriminatingly to everybody, why is it necessary to set the Rules out in different places? What has happened here is not that the Government have simply failed in their objective, not that they have set out to try to devise a single system where everybody will be treated equally. I am afraid I have to suggest that it is not for want of trying that the Government have not done that; it is because the Government quite deliberately set out to build in these Rules a great edifice of discrimination and distinction. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that since the Government have fallen so far short of their own objective, these Rules are full of every kind of anomaly and absurdity.
It would be tedious to try to enumerate them, but may I just point to two examples? What could be more without rhyme and reason than the arrangements by which a third generation Australian who happens to be lucky enough to have had a British grandparent is regarded by the Government and by these Rules as having closer family ties with this country than a Commonwealth citizen whose family are already here as of right? That is what the Rules say. And what could be more ludicrous, as a test of whether a Commonwealth citizen is entitled to join his wife here—a British subject—than simply whether he happened to have a British grandparent?
I suggest that these Rules and the Act itself are based upon three major pretences. The first is the one about which I have been speaking: the pretence that there has been a genuine attempt to arrive at a simple, undiscriminating system of immigration control applicable to all people. The second pretence, I suggest, is that the Rules and the Act itself do not distinguish people on grounds of race or colour. And the third pretence is, as Mr. Carr put it in another place:The Rules reflect the Government's determination to ensure strict control of immigrationas such: that is the immigration of all kinds of people; not merely coloured people, not merely Commonwealth citizens, but strict control of the immigration of all classes of entrants.
The noble Baroness, Lady White, has already pointed out that theoretically these Rules and the Act of Parliament 554 allow for the first time the potential entry of 200 million people. She would no doubt agree that that is a theoretical figure but there are certain figures which are far from theoretical. The 1971 Act itself opened the door, for the first time since we introduced control in 1962, to some 4 million to 5 million patrial Commonwealth citizens. Until this Act came into force those people had no such free right of entry. Then under the amended Rule about grandparents the door has been opened in the same way, giving almost complete freedom of entry to what has been estimated to be another 8 million people—that is, 8 million non-patrial Commonwealth citizens. How can it possibly be contended with any sort of sense that these Rules and this Act reflect the Government's determination to ensure strict control of immigration? Before passing from that subject I think we ought to contrast another figure with those two figures. Those are the figures of the way in which the door has been opened, but there are about a quarter of a million United Kingdom passport holders who, under the Act and under the regulations, remain subject to the rigid control of the special voucher system.
I have listened, as I have no doubt everybody did, with interest to the proposal made by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that it might be helpful, and certainly would do no harm, if a Select Committee were set up consisting of Members of both Houses to study the problem of our citizenship law. While I would not be able to speak as to whether that is the most appropriate procedure for tackling the problem, I would certainly agree that until we get our citizenship law tidied up we shall not arrive at any kind of sane and sensible immigration control. Therefore, in principle, I am wholly with the noble Lord in thinking that this matter ought to be looked at urgently and should indeed have been looked at a long time ago. It is my opinion that these present Rules, because of their absurdities, anomalies and discrimination cannot last. In saying that I do not mean that they are unworkable, because anything is workable. However unfair and however indecent, one can always make it work. What I hope is that with the passage of time the British people, who are, as I still believe, fair minded and decent people, will come to the conclusion that these Rules, so 555 discriminating and so absurd, can no longer be tolerated.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ LORD THURLOW
My Lords, the diffidence with which a newcomer to your Lordships' ranks addresses your Lordships is increased in my case by the experience that I had 15 years ago when I was asked to address a group of Peers within the precincts and omitted to obtain the leave of my boss. On returning to Whitehall I was summoned and ceremoniously dismissed from Her Majesty's service. I hope that addressing you to-day has not the same hazards. I should perhaps add that I was reappointed half a minute later.
I gladly accept the status that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, suggested, as an adopted son of Cassandra and Orpheus. It seems to me that the Rules satisfactorily meet the position in the short run, not because they are the final masterpiece of human wisdom on the subject but because within the framework of existing nationalities, legislation and our European commitments they can be regarded as a fair compromise. But surely they can be regarded only as a stop-gap to patch up the old suit until the tailor can produce a new suit of a cloth and style suited to modern conditions. It has been my privilege over the last thirty years to serve in I think all the major Commonwealth capitals as well as in Whitehall: in Canada and New Zealand, in India, in African capitals and in the Caribbean. It is not without embarrassment that I look back on some of the episodes in the context of immigration control. I recall when I represented the Government in New Zealand in 1962 the belief of the Government at the time was that the restrictions would not have a significant effect on depriving people of bona fide movement, and we let that view be known. The Rules before your Lordships' House are a considerable gesture to the views previously expressed in debate here and elsewhere, but this labyrinth surely cannot be regarded as a permanent structure. Other Governments, as the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, pointed out are uneasy about the patrial formula. It creates awkwardness in integrating their own communities. I do not underrate the difficulties of producing a final and 556 satisfactory solution. The views of India, African countries and others must be given due weight if wider British interests are not to be prejudiced.
I therefore warmly endorse the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that the whole subject of our nationality legislation should be reviewed. The contortions which we have been obliged to go through, and which our unfortunate immigration officers have to try to implement under the Rules, stem largely from the failure to face the realities when framing the 1948 legislation. It was thought then that a few new legal definitions would dispose of the problem of technicalities and that no practical problems need arise. I believe that the views expressed to-day and previously in Parliament have shown that for practical purposes the old system has broken down. It is desirable, therefore, and will be helpful I am sure, if the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, will consider taking steps to initiate a review such as that proposed by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan. If a Joint Select Committee is not the right method, some other means could be found. I venture to suggest that a departmental review is not enough because in my experience departmental committees are not the best suited to the grasping of nettles, especially nettles which have political overtones.
I thank your Lordships for listening so patiently. I hope that for addressing you on this occasion I shall not be sacked.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
My Lords, may I begin by associating myself with everything that has been so admirably said by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, on the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, in regard to whom I wish to add my admiration, respect and hope for the future.
It is with a strange mixture of pleasure and sorrow, the one every bit as genuine as the other, that I find myself the first person in your Lordships' House to utter the familiar words "the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow" with a new meaning. The death of Harry Thurlow was something which caused great sorrow to a great many Members of your Lordships' House, and those I know will be the first of a large number of people to experience pleasure and to extend a welcome to his 557 brother. I know also that I have the House with me when I venture, I hope not impertinently, to congratulate him on his maiden speech, a speech of enormous clarity and, as one might expect from so distinguished and long-experienced a proconsul, of authority. I hope that we may have many more opportunities of hearing such speeches in the future.
The noble Lord, Lord Porritt, was speaking particularly from the angle of New Zealand and it is somewhere in that region that I wish to take my stand also, though on a somewhat wider area than the old Dominions. We can be fairly certain that if the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, were here this afternoon he would certainly be speaking on behalf of the peoples of all of the old Dominions, particularly Australia and New Zealand. He is, however, in Australia and writes to me sending me, among other things, a quotation from a leading article in a newspaper, the West Australian, which says of these Rules:They are totally unacceptable. Those who have been loyalist longest become in effect aliens.That I take to refer to those who because they, their parents and grandparents were born in the Dominions are not patrial and have not the right of abode. They do not benefit under the interesting new law that has been described as saying that the dog born in a stable is a horse. But none the less, they have retained from generation to generation their loyalty to the Mother Country.
I do not mean to pursue that line directly beyond making the point, which I believe your Lordships will concede that I make on good authority, that clearly in Australia at any rate there is still some bitterness over the Act and the manner in which it will operate through these Rules. The words I particularly fix on in the noble Lord's letter are these:The only answer is our reciprocal arrangement'.Those last two words are in inverted commas. I confess that when I read that I thought that my old friend was barking up the wrong gum tree. My immediate thought was that reciprocity was alas! among the deader ducks. But something has happened since to show me that my judgment was over-hasty. Noble Lords will doubtless remember the word 558 "reciprocity" which emerged as a new word in connection with immigration in the course of the Committee stage of the debate on what is now the Act of 1971. It was the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, who introduced it and embodied the idea of reciprocity in an Amendment of which I may perhaps very lightly sketch in the history. It gave rise to ding-dong arguments, was seen to be unsatisfactory, and was withdrawn.
The word reappeared at the Report stage in an improved Amendment which was moved by me, the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, being at that moment in Brazil. According to that Amendment the concept of reciprocity is very briefly this: a Commonwealth country is to be designated as reciprocal if, over a period of three years, that country has received from us more immigrants than we have received from it. A citizen of that country can apply to the Home Secretary for United Kingdom citizenship by registration, and with it the right of abode, after he has dwelt among us for two years, whereas for a citizen of any other Commonwealth country the minimum qualifying period is not two years but five. Countries that at present would be affected by that amendment would be Canada, Australia and New Zealand, though it is conceivable that others may turn out to be so affected later. It operates without regard to race or colour, indeed without regard to anything other than the simple arithmetic of the immigration figures. There will be no releasing anyone from immigration control because the right that the reciprocal immigrant would enjoy would be solely that of applying for registration. The Secretary of State retains the power to refuse it on grounds of undesirability. I need not enlarge on that thumbnail sketch because it is not my purpose in any way to reopen that debate.
To proceed with the history of the matter: I divided the House on that Amendment and, despite a most powerful and effective speech by my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, it was defeated by 118 votes to 21—nearly six to one. A resounding defeat, you may say. Nor in some ways was such a result to be wondered at, particularly in view of the attitude of the Government. I will quote a couple of the more trenchant remarks 559 made by my noble friend Lord Aberdare in his reply. He said:We consider, … that we could not possibly accept this Amendment without breaching one of the main principles to which we hold, which is that it has never been the policy of any British Government to discriminate between one Commonwealth country and another."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11/10/71; col. 275.]And again:I do not think that we should be justified in discriminating between one Commonwealth country and another. If we were to do so I think it would cause damage to the whole concept of the Commonwealth, and I can only advise your Lordships not to accept this Amendment."—[col. 278.]Do your Lordships wonder that I thought our poor little reciprocity idea must be regarded as defunct? I am ashamed now of my faintness of heart, for it appears it was only stunned.
Last week the same Rules were debated in another place and the Home Secretary took part. I will quote from what he said, which was somewhat different from the remarks I have just quoted from Lord Aberdare. What he said was of such a striking character that I venture to repeat (I am sorry to say) one whole column of his speech, and this is it:I was glad to hear the right hon. Member for Stepney, while rejecting a grand parental connection as a qualification, say he believed it was right to have some special relationship recognised with those countries in the Commonwealth which are peculiarly British. I do not admit that it is in any way racial or prejudicial to admit openly what is a clear fact. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that, I was hoping that he would have gone on to say what sort of connection this might have been, because that is what we all ponder and, so far, ponder without much flash of enlightenment. This is what we promised to explore.Since those pledges were given my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has had discussions both in this country and in Canada with the Canadian Prime Minister.Concerning Australia and New Zealand, officials from the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office went to Australia and New Zealand in the second half of January to have talks at official level in preparation for the visit at the beginning of February of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, who discussed these matters with the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia and, of course, other Ministers particularly concerned in their Governments. I should also make clear that there have been diplomatic 560 contacts on this subject with other Commonwealth countries.The upshot is that the subject—when I talk about the subject. I include discussion of reciprocity which, although it can have different meanings, was one sort of special recognition which hon. Members were suggesting in the last debate—has only just been opened up, and we have not by a long way carried these explorations to finality. I cannot, therefore, give any firm, let alone final, report. However, it is fair to point out that each of the three countries—Canada, Australia and New Zealand—see considerable difficulty in coming to bilateral or even multilateral reciprocal arrangements on this subject. It would be misleading the House to pretend that there is no difficulty or to let it think that if there is difficulty it is particularly on the United Kingdom's side. All three countries have considerable difficulty in this matter and we shall be pursuing it with them further."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, (Commons) 21/2/73; cols. 592/3.]In those words my right honourable friend the Home Secretary presents us with the spectacle of the Government standing on its head. Six months ago he was holding up his hands in pious horror at the suggestion which I, and others in both Houses who thought as I did, had the temerity, if not the bad taste, to put forward. Now we learn that this suggestion, with others designed to bring about a special relationship with countries which are peculiarly British—the Home Secretary's own words—are discussed by our Prime Minister with the Prime Minister of Canada, are discussed at Cabinet level with the Governments of Australia and Canada and are discussed at diplomatic level with other countries of the Commonwealth. I am greatly heartened; so much so as to say that I think the Government shows to greater advantage standing on its head than it did when it was what it used to consider to be the right way up. May it continue in this becomingly antipodian pose!
If it should turn out that the difficulties are, after all, too great, may it be made very widely known in the countries affected and concerned that the difficulties were not all of our making, and that failure, if it should come about, does not arise from any lack of good will on the part of the British Government or Parliament or people. If the reciprocity principle, or something like it, should be found eventually to be workable, then I believe that a great blot will have been removed from the Bill and from these otherwise, as I see them, generally reasonable Rules.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
My Lords, at the outset I should like to be allowed to pay my tribute to what I am sure all noble Lords will agree were two very remarkable maiden speeches this afternoon. It gives me personally particular pleasure to do so because both the noble Lords, Lord Porritt and Lord Thurlow, have devoted their services to the Commonwealth, which has been my own life work, and Lord Thurlow has been a lifelong colleague and friend. I thought both of them addressed themselves to the subject with remarkable force and frankness, and indeed with great felicity of language, and I am sure all of us will hope to hear from them on many occasions again.
My Lords, I do not propose to speak at any length on this subject. I gave some views at considerable length when the Bill was first under discussion and when the Rules were first introduced. The only point that I wish to repeat is one that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has already made this afternoon; namely, that we cannot hope to make sense out of our immigration legislation until we have put some degree of order into our law of citizenship. This is a big subject which needs very careful going into, and I would very strongly support the suggestion that this should be done. Whether a Select Committee is necessarily the right answer I would not be able to judge. It seems to me that probably what is needed is a combination of the virtues of the Select Committee, which can take a broad view on a broad political issue, without some of the handicaps of the inter-Departmental committee which the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, was decrying. What is needed, in addition to the broad brush, is technical assistance and legal advice on what in fact the very complicated law at present is. But however it is done, I trust that the Government will think of this very seriously so that a new view can be taken.
As to the Rules themselves, I think I can give three cheers for the revision of the Rules dealing with aliens on the one hand and Commonwealth citizens on the other. I think this is right for three reasons. First, it is right on grounds of substance. There are differences in the treatment of the two. They are not in many cases as broad or as wide or as 562 distinct as I and perhaps many others would like to see them, but nevertheless there are distinctions, and it is right that they should be recognised. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I think psychologically it was of great importance to have this division of treatment, and I think it was the fact that they were all bundled together in one Regulation at the earlier stage that gave rise to the complaints that Commonwealth citizens were all being put in the same bag as aliens. Thirdly, there is the technical advantage that if you want to make changes—and several speeches to-day have indicated that changes may well be desirable—in respect of Commonwealth citizens or aliens, then you can do so without affecting the entire immigration procedures.
I think I can give two cheers for the statement about British passport holders. I can fully accept the reasons why it was found necessary for the Government to issue the warning that they did, and I do not myself see any inconsistency between that and the clear statement that they have made about accepting the British passport holders from Uganda when the crisis there arose.
Finally, I would give perhaps one cheer for the concessions which have been made in the various directions that have been suggested. I think here that perhaps I ought to make a confession, and I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Clifford, is not here to hear it. I have come to the conclusion that I, like many others, probably have sacrificed too long on the altar of non-discrimination and made too much of a fetish of it. I have now come to the view—and have for some time—that really there has been an element of hypocrisy in our actions and perhaps our sayings, and that there really is no reason why we should not make access easier for people who want to come to this country (not necessarily for permanent settlement) because they have a close association and a natural feeling for it. I therefore welcome the general principle which the Home Secretary asserted.
Where I think one runs into difficulty, as other speakers have suggested, is when one tries to put this principle into practice. I admit that it is an extraordinarily difficult matter. One would not wish 563 specifically to object to two of the suggestions that have been made but one cannot regard them as ideal. The extension of the grandparental connection is obviously a completely artificial arrangement and, moreover, as we know, it is felt to be divisive in some of the Commonwealth countries that will benefit from it. I am bound to confess that to talk of a working holiday going on for five years seems to be an extraordinary misnomer. Nevertheless, one must be grateful for small mercies. I think that these are steps in the right direction and that the Government's heart is in the right place, although I am not satisfied that they have necessarily found absolutely the right way to put the ideas into practice.
I would conclude by expressing gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, for giving us the opportunity to debate this Motion. I do not think that anyone would wish at this stage to throw the Orders out, but this debate has given us the opportunity to raise some points, and I dare say that, in the light of experience, we may want to come back to them from time to time. I would only hope that the Government will pay serious attention to some of the quite serious anxieties that have been expressed during this discussion.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, may I join with others in thanking the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, for moving this Motion this afternoon. He ended with certain constructive proposals, to which I want to refer before I conclude. I should like to take this opportunity of saying to him that I hope that now he has the distinction of being a Member of the European Parliament, he may be able to raise in that Assembly dynamic issues such as he has raised this afternoon.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, just to correct him? One of the first things I did when I arrived there was to put down a Question to the Council of Ministers about putting pressure on the British Government to reunite Ugandan Asian families. I have reason to believe that this returned via the proper channels, to the Cabinet Office at this end.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I appreciate that intervention. It is now over ten years that we have been discussing Immigration Acts, Regulations and Rules. The noble Lord, Lord Garner, who has just spoken, used the word "hypocrisy". I think that there has been a little hypocrisy in our whole attitude when we have discussed these issues. We have described it as "immigration control". It has not been immigration control at all; it has been colour and racialist control. Since the last world war, except for two years, more people have emigrated from this country than have come into this country. If we were honest with ourselves we would recognise that this series of Acts, Regulations and Rules has really concentrated on the issue of race and of colour.
In saying that, I recognise the necessity for some control. While we have nation States in the world, Governments have the right to decide what immigration there shall be according to the economic and social circumstances of their countries. Indeed, even when we have a World Government there may be some necessity for the control of migration into the more densely populated areas from those which are less populated. I want to urge very strongly indeed that, when we are considering the control of immigration, it should not be on the grounds of race, colour or sex. I add "sex" because I recognise the change that Her Majesty's Government have made in relation to sex. At last they have agreed that the 300 husbands who have wives here may come to this country, when before they only allowed wives to join their husbands. They have now recognised sexual equality in that respect and no longer regard the wife as the mere chattel of her husband.
In the two maiden speeches that have been delivered—and I want to congratulate the noble Lords on those speeches, and express some sympathy with them in having passed the ordeal—and in the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, we have had the argument that special provision should be made for those who have left this country and gone to the Dominions. I want to say at once that I recognise there is some strength in the kith and kin argument. I recognise that when people have gone from this country to Dominions overseas and 565 still feel that Britain is their homeland there is a special case to be made in their favour. However, I think that the House must also recognise that a change is now taking place in the psychology of the Dominions. This is particularly indicated in what has happened in Australia in recent weeks. In the Dominions now there is less sense of belonging to the homeland than of asserting their own nationality. The number of people in the Dominions who have this sense of belonging to the homeland is decreasing, and is becoming limited to the older generation in the Dominions. As we make new Rules for immigration I hope we shall allow, as indeed these Rules accept, that there should be grounds for people coming here on the basis of their domestic relations with families in this country, as well as because of their technical capacities. If you apply those two conditions to the citizens of the Dominions you will find that the proportion of those who fulfil them is undoubtedly greater than in respect of other territories.
Having said that, I want to say that we have very special responsibilities for Commonwealth citizens who come from territories other than the Dominions. Sometimes the demarcation is described as the "old Commonwealth" and the "new Commonwealth", but those terms are misnomers. The oldest territories in the British Commonwealth are not the Dominions but the Caribbean territories, the West Indian territories; and if the length of association with our Commonwealth is to be regarded as a reason why their citizens should have the opportunity to come to this country, the claim of the Caribbean islands, the West Indies, is greater than that of the Dominions. But, in addition, there is this reason why we have a special responsibility for citizens of the Commonwealth who are not part of the Dominions. For 300 years we have occupied these colonial territories, and during that time we have used them to provide our foodstuffs and our raw materials but we have failed to build up balanced economies. The consequence has been wretched poverty and the heavy unemployment that there is in those territories now. Our 300 years' rule of those territories places upon us a special responsibility to give their people opportunities in life.
566 I want to turn to one other point which has not been mentioned in this debate but which is frequently in the minds of people as they discuss this issue; that is, the fact that in our cities—in Birmingham, in Wolverhampton and in parts of London—there are now ghettoes occupied by non-white Commonwealth immigrants which are in appalling conditions of overcrowding and destitution, and opinion is motivated against the resident immigrants as being responsible for those conditions. The answer came rather surprisingly—and I welcomed it—in a speech by Mr. Robert Carr quite recently. In that speech he said that if there were not a single Commonwealth immigrant within those "inner cities", the conditions would be exactly the same: there would be the same shortage of housing, the same poverty, the same destitution, the same frustration which leads to violence. Commonwealth immigrants have been made the scapegoats for our shortage of housing, for our unemployment and for our social conditions. Before they came those conditions existed in this country, and they would exist in our "inner cities" now, whether the Commonwealth immigrants were here or not.
In conclusion, I want to turn to the constructive proposals which the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has made. He was absolutely right when he described the chaos of nationality recognition and of citizenship: citizens of the United Kingdom, citizens of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, protected persons in the Commonwealth, residents in the Commonwealth who have declined to accept the nationality of their territories and who have remained British citizens. There is absolute chaos, and of course we should give consideration to the problems. The noble Lord has proposed a Joint Select Committee of another place and this House. It may very well be that that is the best method of dealing with the problem.
I would say only that the solution of the problem is not for the British Parliament alone; it is for the whole Commonwealth. It may be said that representatives of the Commonwealth could give evidence to a Select Committee. I believe that an American citizen has even given evidence to our 567 own Select Committee on Sex Discrimination; and we should welcome that. But that is not enough. I am among those who have repeatedly urged in this House that there should be a conference of Commonwealth countries on this issue of migration and nationality. We are to have in Ottawa in August the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, and I would urge Her Majesty's Government to see that on the agenda is this whole issue of nationality, citizenship, migration, emigration and immigration. Because it is only if we co-operate with Commonwealth countries that we shall be able to solve this issue in a way which is approachable and constructive, not only for this country but for their peoples as well.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ LORD GORE-BOOTH
My Lords, may I join with other noble Lords in expressing both welcome and admiration to the two noble Lords who have made their maiden speeches? I found the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, particularly moving, because I have just been to New Zealand for the first time in my life and I think that, while the New Zealanders are not professional extroverts, somehow they and their beautiful country give one a feeling for their country, to which he referred, in a very short time indeed. What he said had a very direct human appeal. It was also very good to hear from my former colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, who has so much experience of living in the Commonwealth and so much wisdom to bring to this subject.
In a debate of this kind, one feels that everything we do is inseparable from the name of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, who introduced it. I do not think any of us will forget what a tremendous contribution of both wisdom and compassion he made in 1971, when your Lordships' House contributed a considerable degree of both humanity and common sense to the draft of the Act when it was still a Bill. I think we ought to keep up the Greek classical tradition, and I should like to ask him to consider whether he will also accept the Order of Athene, representing justice, and just a whiff, if you like, of Aphrodite, representing at least compassion, even if we go no further than that.
568 I wonder whether at this stage of our debate, which the noble Lord rather tentatively described as a funeral but which I am inclined to think of as a launching pad, it might be helpful to make one slightly different approach to the question of these Rules which I do not think any noble Lord has yet attempted. There has been much criticism of the Rules as such, notably by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, but I have felt that the more violent that criticism, the further it got away from the reasons why we have an Immigration Act the way we do, and why the Rules have to be what they are; and I hope your Lordships will afford me your indulgence if I go through a few imperatives under which any Government of this country has had to act over the last dozen or so years. We started with the imperative, of which we were rightly rather proud for a time, that this was a country in which anybody from the Commonwealth could come and settle without questions asked. Then this became economically and socially impossible, and the Government had to decide how to limit the flow of immigration from the Commonwealth into this country. I think the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, may have unintentionally misled us a little by describing this as a racial formula. The problem was in fact the problem of the second imperative, which was how to do this in the then properly strong climate in favour of non-discrimination. Because we were faced with this we had to have some complicated legislation, not necessarily satisfactory in every respect, to apply these limits and, at the same time, to observe the principles of non-discrimination.
Then we were faced with a further difficulty. The difficulty was that if we applied these principles we appeared then to be discriminating against people who had a certain claim on us; and this is so delicate a subject that very often I think we feel it difficult to talk about it at all. Here I think we might give a few words in the Act to messrs. Scylla and Charybdis, because we are dealing with this question of our connection with the old Dominions—and "old" is a term of art and not a term of history. We are dealing with whether they have some special connection with us which is a discrimination but not a racial discrimination; and I noticed, as did the 569 noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, the felicitous way in which, in another place, Mr. Peter Shore alluded to this very real fact. He said that in his opinion it was right that we should acknowledge that a special relationship exists among Australia, New Zealand, Canada and this country. We now have already three imperatives jostling each other in the presence, as one might say, of the British Legislature.
Then we come to yet another imperative—and we have not yet done by any means with imperatives. We come to the requirements of the Treaty of Rome. The Governments of both our main Parties came to the conclusion that we should join the European Economic Community, which would mean an acceptance of the Treaty of Rome. That meant, by 1968, not only the acceptance of Article 48, Section 3, which allows people from one member of the Community to go to another to take up work, but the decision of 1968, which freed them also to go and seek work. That again became an imperative if we were to be accepted as members of the Community; and once again you had a further imperative or a further principle jostling against and conflicting with the principles which we had already accepted. So when we came then to discuss the Rules for the first time, we had not only these different influences, to all of which we had to yield to some extent, but the sudden reaction in Australia, particularly, and also in New Zealand, to the impact of the first edition of these Rules when it was published. There was a very strong feeling in those countries, and I was critical about this matter in a previous intervention in your Lordships' House. There was an immediate assumption, caused by the public relations not being correctly propelled, that made Australians feel for 24 hours that they had become aliens. Incidentally, I hope that the noble Viscount who is to wind up this debate for the Government will once again say in a firm voice that this Bill and these Regulations do not turn Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians into aliens, since the Government follow-up of what was said at that time has been practical and visible to all.
My Lords, confronted by all these imperatives converging on any British 570 Government—and I underline the word "any"—it was simply not possible to draw up a set of plain and simple rules; and, whatever the noble Lord who was handling this earlier may have hoped to produce, it was simply not possible in the circumstances, in dealing with all these different convictions and influences, to draw up something short and simple. Certainly immigration officers, whom I have always found to be courteous and helpful, need precise guidance, but one cannot give brief guidance on a subject of immense complexity. I really do feel that all of us should recognise that if you are going to have Rules, as you must in a situation of this kind, then they must be complicated and they must be long. The only thing one can ask for is that they should be as clear as possible. The new Rules are, I feel convinced, a very laudable effort by civil servants and Ministers to find a mean between all these influences, and I think the Government should be given credit for that.
There are one or two items which lead to questions. I join the noble Lord, Lord Garner, in wondering whether it was really necessary to extend the working holiday to five years, because it seems to me that that creates a difficulty which need not have been created, since it is the period over which people coming in qualify for naturalisation. I know that the Home Secretary said in another place that power would be taken to prevent that if the British Government thought it was undesirable, but it is surely making a difficulty and then creating a remedy rather than saying, "All right; let us settle for four years."
THE MINISTER OF STATE, HOME OFFICE (VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS)
My Lords, perhaps I may correct the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth. My right honourable friend said—and it was picked up by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary—that the remedy is already there in the legislation. It is not a question of our having to create it: it is already in the legislation.
§ LORD GORE-BOOTH
My Lords, I thank the noble Viscount, and apologise to him. I expressed myself wrongly. But it still presents the problem of having to use the power, whereas if four years had been chosen it would not have been 571 necessary to do so. Again, I think that in the other place also there was this problem of whether the safety valves which the revised Regulations allow are valid, or whether really one must again give any Government in these circumstances the benefit of the doubt in creating a situation in which, of course, there might be far too many immigrants under the proposals in the new Regulations. Again, the Government will have powers to prevent this; and I think the moral of that also is that in a question of this complexity the safety valves are bound to be such that the Government may have to use further powers in order to make sure the situation does not get out of hand.
So, in concluding my argument, I would say once again that I think any Government of this country, confronted by our past convictions and our present ideals, would have found this an immensely difficult matter to get right. I am sure that in the future there will be constant vigilance over the working of these new Rules, in which your Lordships will take part, to see whether anomalies arise and to bring them to the attention of the Government whenever it seems that this attention should be drawn. But, also in conclusion, I feel very much attracted, as have been other noble Lords, to the proposal by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that the time is now ripe for having a really good look at our citizenship laws. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, made a good point when he said that we had been labouring with the 1948 Act for these many years. Perhaps I could add to the suggestion that the present Government have shown a laudable desire to have a look at all our procedures and institutions to see whether they are working well or badly, and producing legislation accordingly, that perhaps it would be possible for this institution and this legislation also to be looked at with a radical improvement in mind. In concluding, may I again express an obligation to the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, for raising this matter and may I reiterate my feeling that perhaps some of the criticisms that were hound to be made in this matter are due to the nature of the problem itself and not always to the iniquity of the policy makers and the drafters.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I hope that I may intervene having omitted to put my name on the list of speakers. There are a few words that I should like to add to what has already been said. May I start by taking up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, that there are various imperatives that we must consider in formulating an immigration policy in this country. He went through them one by one. If I may say so—and I am sure this is not because he did not attach importance to it, but because he was dealing with the mechanics of the situation—the one thing that he omitted from his list of imperatives operating over a period of time was the consideration of humanity. We can draw up all the Rules that we like, but there is one overriding imperative, to use Lord Gore-Booth's word, which must be uppermost in our thinking. Whether we have a Select Committee of both Houses—and the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, suggested this—or whatever is the way that we formulate our policy, we must not apply it in such a manner as to cause hardship, to divide husbands from families, to prevent people who legitimately want to come to this country to complete courses of study or to result in people who are our own citizens being severely fined or thrown into prison in countries where their presence is no longer welcome. It is to this aspect of the Rules that I should like to draw attention.
§ LORD GORE-BOOTH
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his intervention. I did intend my tribute to the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, to include the imperative of humanity; but I did not come back to it.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord had that in mind and I am grateful for his assurance. The noble Baroness, Lady White, said that the new Rules extend the right of entry to over 200 milion people. She is quite right in saying that, theoretically, this is so; even if the people do not choose to take up their privilege. I think it is important that one should first consider the number who are likely to come into the country and then to think how it is possible to deal with that likely influx in the most humanitarian manner possible.
573 If one looks at the figures over the last few years one finds, as the noble Baroness said, that there has been a net outflow from this country. From the Registrar-General's projection of population in this country from the year 1971 to the year 2011, one sees that he is making the assumption that emigration from the United Kingdom will exceed immigration by 50,000 in each of these years. This is an enormous number over a period of 40 years, vastly exceeding anything contemplated as inflow into this country in any single year or over the whole of that period. There is going to be a greater number leaving the United Kingdom than arriving.
It comes back to the point that Lord Brockway was making when referring to the social effect of migration on some of our larger cities, and it underlies the extreme importance of not blaming people from Pakistan and India for creating conditions which would have existed if no immigrants at all came to this country: conditions such as shortage of housing, shortage of school places and difficulties with the National Health Service. If they are caused by excess population in this country, they are due to the high fertility of the British people and not to the numbers of people from abroad. As the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, knows, such studies as have been undertaken into the use made by immigrants of the social services show that they are less of a burden on them than the native population; because the vast majority of immigrants have been of working age and therefore have contributed through rates and taxes and have not imposed a burden on the social services in the matter of the amount of retirement pensions paid to them.
I think that that more or less disposes of the matter of numbers and of the burden which immigrants put on to the social services. May I now turn to the main question, that of the imperative of humanity? I am indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, for using the word "imperative", because it is fully justified if we consider not the Rules themselves but the way in which they are interpreted or are likely to be interpreted. We can judge this because many of the Rules correspond with those which appeared in previous editions. We can 574 ask the Home Office, through the noble Viscount, just how they are going to look at the phrases which occur here in terms of how they apply to people arriving in the future. I was pleased and gratified that the right honourable gentleman, Mr. Robert Carr, made his announcement last week that we were going to admit the husbands of the Uganda refugee women who arrived in this country and who were initially allowed to come in to secure their own safety, but were told even before leaving the country that it would be necessary for them to resettle in some third nation as soon as their husbands gained permission to go there. It became clear that the United Nations High Commissioner was not resettling all the husbands in places to which they might wish to go or which were willing to receive them. I can only wish that the Home Secretary had made this announcement some time ago so that a great deal of unnecessary suffering could have been avoided—perhaps at the time when we last debated this matter on December 6. at which time I made a plea (unfortunately without effect at that time) to the noble Viscount, Lord Colville. But one should be grateful for small mercies that this has been done at the end.
My Lords, there are one or two questions to put despite the Home Secretary's statement. As I understand him, the husbands who are at present resident in the resettlement camps in Europe are to be permitted to come here if they wish and if the wives and children are resident in the United Kingdom under the previous concession. May I ask the noble Viscount to say whether this applies to people not in the resettlement camps? As he knows, there are husbands in various places in Europe—for example, I have a case in Frankfurt at this moment—but also in countries of the Middle East and Asia because these were the only places to which they could go when expelled from Uganda at the time of General Amin's action. I am certain that it was not the intention of the Home Secretary to say that if a person were unfortunate enough not to finish up in a resettlement camp he would be deprived of the right to join his wife and children in the United Kingdom. I should be grateful if the noble Viscount could give an assurance on that this afternoon.
575 The second point, and one that I also mentioned before, concerns the question of students who were at Makerere before General Amin's expulsion order. When in the past I wrote to Mr. David Lane over the case of individual students (and I shall not give details here) he told me that the Immigration Rules provided that if the authority were not satisfied that a student would return to his country of origin on completing his course of studies, he must automatically be refused entry. I pointed out to Mr. Lane that it was quite impossible for any students coming from Uganda who have been at Makerere College to give an assurance that they will go back there when they finish their studies at Edinburgh University or the University of London. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady White, is extremely interested in this question. I was also told that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors had set up a Working Party concerning where these former students from Makerere College could best be fitted into our universities. I asked Mr. Lane what was the point of doing that if, every time one of the students arrived here, he was going to be told, "No, you have not the intention of going back to Kampala on completion of your course, therefore even if the head of computer studies at Manchester University, to take one example, has written to the Home Office to say that he is prepared to admit you and you are qualified to enter this course of studies, we are not entitled to admit you under the Immigration Rules".
The third section of humanity that I should like to mention and on which I should be grateful for an answer from the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, is this: I have had referred to me one or two cases of dependants living in Islamabad who want to come here and join their husbands who have already been admitted to the United Kingdom. To take a typical example, the wife in question has been told that she cannot even be interviewed until June 4, 1973, because there is a long queue of persons in a similar position all of whom have to be personally interviewed and their documentation thoroughly examined before they can be admitted to the United Kingdom.
When one looks at these Rules they appear to be quite straightforward. They say that the wife and children of a 576 breadwinner who has already been admitted to the United Kingdom are entitled to entry as of right. There is no question of going back on that. What is happening, particularly in the case of Islamabad, is that the wife and children are being kept waiting for perhaps six months or even longer, and if at the end of that period there is any question of their entitlement to come here the matter is referred back to London and a further period of six months or a year elapses; so it might be two and a half years after the first formal approach is made by the husband, or by his wife in Islamabad, before she and her children are finally admitted.
In one particular case on which correspondence passed with the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, he replied, "It is most distressing to me that Mrs. X should be asked to wait this long", and he then said that the matter was being looked at. A team has been out in Islamabad to investigate the position. Some improvement has been achieved, but, my Lords, that improvement has still not secured any advance in the date at which this lady will be interviewed. I wish to ask the noble Viscount, Lord Colville—I know this is not his departmental responsibility, but perhaps he could discuss the point with his colleagues in the F.C.O.—whether in the case of many of these dependants (I understand there are over 4,000 in the queue at this minute) documentary evidence would be quite sufficient and a personal interview would not be necessary after all, because after we close the offices in Lahore or Rawalpindi that for many of the Africans would mean a journey of several hundred miles which they can ill afford financially and which puts them to very great inconvenience.
I realise, of course, that the system of registration of births, marriages and deaths is not as highly developed in some other countries as it is in Great Britain, and that in some cases there may be doubts concerning the validity of the documentary evidence; but where, as in the case that I am talking about, the Foreign Secretary is convinced that Mrs. X is married to the person who is already resident in this country, that these are her children, I do not see why it should be necessary to put them through the hoop of a long journey to Islamabad simply in order to be inter 577 viewed for five minutes and have a form submitted on their behalf. I would think, if there are as many as 4,000 dependants in Islamabad waiting in the queue, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would be only too delighted if some of the cases could be dealt with on the basis of documentary submissions alone.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, may I, in conclusion, say how very interested I was in the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that we should have a Select Committee to look into all these questions of migration and citizenship. This illustrates one of the advantages of our representation in the European Parliament. The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has already had the opportunity of comparing the laws on citizenship and migration of this country with those which operate in our fellow E.E.C. countries, and in some respects he says they are superior to our own in that they do not contain the elements of sex discrimination which we have discussed this afternoon. If another place would accept his suggestion I would be heartily in favour of it. Obviously we cannot decide on our own initiative that this would be a good thing there would be a process of discussion through the usual channels. But in view of the fact that not one noble Lord who has spoken in this debate has criticised the proposal which has been made by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, I think that it would merit discussion through the usual channels with another place, with a view to getting something going as quickly as possible.
As my noble friend, Lord Foot, has said, we are discussing four sets of documents. They are extremely difficult to understand and they contain elements of uncertainty, some of which I have been discussing, which in the course of deliberations in a Joint Select Committee such as the noble Lord has proposed ought to be cleared up with 'the combined weight of expertise in both Houses. I personally think, although I cannot speak for my Party, that this suggestion ought to be very carefully and thoroughly explored by Her Majesty's Government, and I hope that in the end it is adopted.
§ 5.26 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, when the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, said that his speech was in the nature of a funeral oration, I rather agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, in questioning that sentiment. Perhaps, if I may restore the analogy away from the 20th century of the launching pad back to the classical idea of the phœnix, we have really had a debate arising out of the previous discussions in both Houses and very much following up what was said in another place last Wednesday. It has been a debate embellished by two notable maiden speeches in which I instantly join in congratulation to the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, and the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, whose brother I knew very well indeed. We have also been singularly fortunate in having from the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, as amended by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, a very clear discourse on the history and the conflicting obligations that any Administration would have to deal with in this field. And, if I may say so, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, made what seemed to me a realistic, statesmanlike speech on the whole matter which brought out many fundamental points which I have not heard put so clearly or so well put together for some time. I dare say there are one or two small points that I do not agree with, but it is unusual for me to go along with him so wholeheartedly in almost all he said.
I am sorry to say that this contrasted very much in my mind with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Foot, which I considered to be full of barren sterility and which contributed nothing whatever positive to our discussion this afternoon. The noble Lord might like to bear in mind what his noble friend has said about humanity. As the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, put it, we are dealing with people. If the noble Lord wants something which is so neat and tidy that it can be wrapped up in a simple package, I suppose his policy is that we should have no immigration control at all and let in everybody regardless. I am afraid that I cannot see any other solution to what he said.
Some themes have emerged in this debate. The noble Baroness, Lady White, said that the Rules had not been amended as much as she had hoped. I can assure 579 the House that everything said last time has been taken most fully into account. Also, I have made inquiries to see whether any noble Lord or noble Baroness wished to supplement what they said at the time; but I imagine that they were satisfied that they had conveyed their views to us adequately, because, so far as I can discover, there have been no further written representations or suggestions, although if there had been, we would have taken them into account as well. One has to realise that the room for manœuvre in the redrafting was slightly limited—in fact it was fairly substantially limited—by the controlling power which the Act of 1971 gives. For instance, no one has touched on the question of where the appeal against a refusal of entry might lie, but one is completely bound in this matter by Section 30 of the Act, and there was not much room for change.
I think everyone will realise (and putting together the various points of view expressed this afternoon I do not believe that this is anything that the House would seriously challenge) that while one wishes to be as flexible and humane in individual cases as possible, there is a real necessity to keep strict control over the rate of immigration. We can, and of course we must, allow in these Rules for accordance with accession to the Economic Community. We do not think—I have said this before—this accession will put much pressure on the population of this country in terms of numbers. We have sought as hard as we could to make concessions in other areas where they would be appreciated, on the psychological side and on the practical side in some cases, but again it would probably not put a great deal of pressure on our population. We have to realise that, as in the instance given by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who talked about the pressure in Islamabad, there are sources—it is no use blinking the fact— where the countries are poor and the standard of living is low and from where, if they could, many people would come to this country. In the face of that one has to remember that this is a crowded island. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, talked about the net flow of people in and out, but he will also remember that the occupancy ratio of housing goes down year by year; so that even if people stay at the same number they take more 580 and more room to live. Their recreations and other activities become more widespread and they need more room, even if the same numbers remain; and it is a small island which is fairly crowded now.
In fact, my Lords, we have an adequate labour force. To judge by the unemployment troubles, perhaps they are almost too many. We want to cure that unemployment and not do anything to make the situation worse. We have to take acount of the fact that we have a continuing responsibility for United Kingdom passport holders, to allow them in in an orderly fashion. It is no use denying—I do not think that anything said by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, contrary to this—that there are areas of strain. It may not he the fault of the immigrants; it may be that they have congregated in certain places which would be as bad anyway. But there are places where the fact of their presence, for better or for worse, has caused strain. We have seen the symptoms of this in some few places in recent months where the Ugandans have gone in large numbers. I think it wonderful how they have been absorbed; but one cannot get away from the fact that there are areas of strain.
My Lords, we have, on the contrary, the most cogent pleas put forward that where there are natural ties with the main part of the population in this country we should recognise them. In the circumstances I was very glad to heat the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, say that he thought these Rules worked out a pretty fair compromise, at least in the short-run. I am grateful to the noble Lord for saying that. I am grateful to him also for saying that they constitute a considerable gesture in at any rate one direction from which we received considerable criticism last time. The question of the two sets of Rules which the noble Lord, Lord Foot, attacked in his diatribe has been explained by the noble Lord, Lord Garner, and I agree with all the four reasons he gave. If I may, I would adopt them as being good reasons, and I note that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, thought there had been an improvement.
As for the question of Commonwealth consultation, I am again indebted to my noble friend, Lord Cork and Orrery, for reading out the relevant pasage from my 581 right honourable friend's speech so that I do not have to go over all that again. He read out exactly what my right honourable friend said, and that is the situation. We have been carrying on these consultations. The noble Earl also referred to the question of reciprocity and said he liked the present attitude of the Government, which whether ambivalent or not, is not something which is wholly without difficulty abroad, as well, apparently, as sometimes in this country. I was grateful for what he said. The noble Lord, Lord Porritt, spoke of feelings, and I very much understand what he said, with my own relations in Canada. I understand and take the point he has made about feelings, and we have tried very hard to do something about those feelings. Certainly there is no need for me to repeat again, with all sincerity—I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, who asked—that there is no question of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders being in our minds aliens. I will come back to that point in a moment.
We have done one or two things on the question of procedure (which is, of course, entirely outside these Rules) which I think may help on the psychological side, a side which I agree is very important. At a number of important airports and seaports in this country we have introduced the four-channel system and made very certain that if a Commonwealth citizen comes along and the Commonwealth gate is closed, he is sent to the United Kingdom gate and not to some alien gate. We are marking the entry certificates on the working holidaymakers' passports as "working holidaymaker", so we hope that they will have less difficulty when they reach the port of entry. A good deal has been done about the publicity given to the various arrangements for people wanting to come into this country. There has been publicity in the countries from which they come, so that there will be no doubt that they should get their entry certificate if they need one, or their patriality certificate if they are entitled to it, and things of that sort. There are one or two other matters of this nature which I hope, together with the consultations we have been carrying out, will go some way to show that in countries abroad we are really trying to put over this helpful psychological side.
582 My Lords, I think I ought to say a little about the grand-parental situation which the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, did not think went far enough. I can assure my noble friend Lord O'Hagan that it is perfectly constitutional under the Act even without amendment. People with grandparents born in this country would have been allowed in as of right with no control at all. Under the Rules, which of course can be changed and tightened up if necessary, they still have to be subjected to a certain amount of control. There is a substantial difference in law in this situation, but we thought that the views expressed, both here and also in another place, ought to lead us to recognise the close family ties that go back over more than one generation and lead us to grant if not complete freedom at least a relaxation. So a person with a grandparent born in this country will be issued with an entry certificate enabling him to come here, either for employment without a work permit, or as the husband of a woman settled in this country or entitled to settle here, and the Commonwealth citizen admitted on this basis will be admitted for settlement. There will be no restrictions on any employment he may take, although there will remain powers to refuse entry in individual cases on personal grounds. There will also be the power remaining to deport anybody in this category who does abuse our hospitality.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, the noble Lord said that husbands would be admitted where the wife is here. Could he answer my question about the husband of the Ugandan refugees here, husbands not in resettlement camps of Europe, but at loose, if you like, in places such as Germany or Austria or some other country? Are they going to be admitted?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I have had enough difficulty as it is in trying to structure this speech. I promise the noble Lord I will come to that point and will give him an answer. Would he be so kind as to be patient until I get to that particular point?
I wonder whether your Lordships may be interested in this question of patriality, because I have been doing, not exactly research but practical work on it for my own family. I have a brother who wanted a patriality certificate in his passport—it is a Canadian one, like my own. We 583 produced the birth certificate of my mother, which was issued in County Kilkenny before Ireland was cut in half. We produced a Canadian marriage certificate in the district of South Saanich, British Colombia, and his birth certificate from the B.C. Department of Vital Statistics; and there now appears in his passport this fine blue, buff and red coloured stamp which lasts as long as his passport. In future he will, without let or hindrance, go through the "United Kingdom" channel in all the ports of this country. Perhaps slightly more interesting still is the case of my cousin, in whose passport there now appears a similar certificate because she is an undergraduate at a university in this country. When she came in under the previous Rules last September she was admitted on condition that she did not remain in the United Kingdom longer than 12 months, because that was the then law. Instead of having to go back and do something about this, she now has the patriality certificate in her passport, and will in future, as I understand it, have no difficulty at all in going to and fro, whether at Prestwick or anywhere else where she may land. It may be interesting to the House to realise that there are practical advantages in this proceeding, that it can actually be done, and that the three documents I have mentioned are the ones needed.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Garner, was grateful for the extension we have made on the grandparents' side, and I am coming back to this subject. I hope that the combination of that extension and the patriality one I have just been explaining will show that we have attempted to make things easier for people who have close connections with this country. There are one or two details with which I ought to deal. I think it was the noble Baroness, Lady White, who mentioned the question of deportation. I was grateful for her recognition that we had here moved, and moved in a direction I think she found welcome. The situation will now be—and it is really the only amendment of substance in the Rules for control after entry—that the ability of a wife to maintain herself and her children, which was not previously in itself a sufficient ground to allow them to remain after the husband's deportation, is now reinstated. It 584 is reinstated together with a list of other matters in paragraph 45 of Paper 80 and paragraph 52 of Paper 82, which will be taken into account by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and my right honourable friend himself. I think it will give considerable extra flexibility to the consideration of these very difficult cases, and I was grateful to the noble Baroness for her welcome at this particular point.
There were some other detailed points about which I was asked, and I will attempt to deal with them. The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, asked about the relationship between these Rules and the European Economic Community. Strictly speaking, all that we have to do is to make Rules which fit in with the E.E.C. laws and regulations and the Treaty, but in actual fact there were detailed discussions with the Commission about the contents of these Rules and the application to them of the Community Rules. Our Rules were drafted in the light of those discussions so far as they relate to the E.E.C. We believe they give full effect to our obligations. If there is any conflict about pilots and merchant shipping under the remaining bits of the Aliens Act 1919, then this is something that we shall have to sort out when it arises, but I suspect that if there is a divergence it may be one of those cases where the rules of the European law will prevail over the domestic rules in this country. However, that matter has not been examined in detail to see whether there is in fact discrepancy.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
My Lords, this is the point I had my finger on. If such a discrepancy is discovered, do we have again to go through all we have gone through to-day because the Rules have to be re-presented to Parliament with one or more additions or amendments?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE or CULROSS
My Lords, I do not think so, because my memory, which has now grown a little dim, of the intricacies of Section 2 of the European Communities Act is that they provide the courts with a duty to consider domestic legislation and European legislation together and to give precedence to European legislation if there is a conflict. It may be that this is one of those cases. I do not think it would require any alteration to the Rules, although as the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, 585 knows, we can make minor alterations of these Rules without any undue difficulty.
The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, asked me about certain discrepancies that he appeared to have found. I think the one about the visitor not being authorised to take employment, which the noble Lord found in paragraph 14 of Paper 81 but not in Paper 97, arises because Commonwealth citizens who are here as visitors remain free to take employment which is merely incidental to their holiday—they are working holiday-makers, and they can do this. The same scheme for working holiday-makers does not apply to people from non-Commonwealth countries. As to the other point, that matter is slightly involved. May I write to the noble Lord about it, rather than take up time in the House?
The noble Baroness, Lady White, asked about some of the points relating to work permits. So far as the Filipino lady is concerned, I may tell the noble Baroness that the new work permit scheme does not allow for permits to be granted for the employment of semi-skilled machinists, so I think we have already put an end to that particular matter. The noble Baroness asked me a rather wider question, about working holiday-makers. We have extended the period during which, first of all, they have their initial admission for 12 months, as various speakers mentioned, and the maximum of five years which the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, was a little concerned about. I assure him that this is not a back door to registration, because, unlike the previous system whereby one automatically was entitled to registration if one had been here for five years, there is no automatic entitlement any more. Since there is no longer an automatic entitlement, the mere fact that you have been here for this length of time as a working holidaymaker does not give you any more entitlement than any other reason for being here. So there is no difficulty here, and no loophole.
The noble Baroness asked whether in these cases there was a restriction on the type of work. The answer is that there is not, so long as it is incidental to the holiday. This is, after all, a scheme which has worked extremely successfully for a long time and of which altogether many 586 thousands, if not millions, of people have taken advantage. I am not certain that I have ever been told of any reason why there should be restriction on the type of work. Certainly if the noble Baroness has any particular point in mind, I should be glad to look at it, but I have never heard of a problem of this kind. Equally, we have purposely not defined "young". Perhaps this is always an invidious thing to do, but in this case the overriding requirement is that it should be a holiday with the idea that in the end that person is going back to settle in his or her own country. I suppose one can have this sort of holiday when one is not all that young, but the whole point of the exercise, and the whole machinery of getting in as a working holidaymaker—and this is part of the entry certificate machinery—is that you have to convince the High Commission, or whoever is concerned, that this is what you are going to do and that you are in fact going to return. We think it better not to try to lay down a maximum age here, but rather to judge each case on its merits.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I will look at what I said in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I want just to mention the question of the Stateless Ugandans, and to thank the noble Lords, Lord O'Hagan, Lord Brockway and Lord Avebury, for their recognition of what we have done. I think they will appreciate that this was a difficult matter that had to be discussed and sorted out with the United Nations High Commissioner, and that there was no instant solution to it. I know that noble Lords have been impatient, but I thank them now for the gratitude which they have expressed on the decision we have made.
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, in particular, asked me the question he repeated just now: Were all those who were going to benefit in the camps? The answer is, No. Some of them, though not a large number, are outside the camps, in various places in Europe, and they, too, will be coming to this country under the arrangement.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, apart from those in Europe, there were one or two others. For example, there was a 587 man who went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and was caught in Mecca at the time of General Amin's announcement. Is there no restriction whatever on the right of these husbands to enter the United Kingdom, whether they be in Mecca, Aden, Pakistan or in one of the refugee camps in Europe?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
Yes, my Lords; I think there are certain restrictions. But this is being done really on the basis of case by case. I think, in fact, that people who have been admitted have been in Europe. I just do not know the answer about the gentleman who went to Mecca at that particularly crucial juncture. The noble Lord always has the names of everybody, and if he will kindly tell me who it is, I will try to get my colleague to answer that question. I am afraid I was not prepared to deal with the students who had been at Makerere University. The noble Lord will readily admit that he did not give me notice of that one. It is not a matter that my Department would deal with, in any event, so perhaps again I can write to the noble Lord about it.
The third matter raised by the noble Lord I have already mentioned, namely, the question of the pressure on the Embassy in Islamabad. I do know about that. I have already commented on the degree of pressure on the Embassy there, and these are dependants who are exerting pressure. It shows that the pressure there still exists for dependants to come into this country. Numbers were slightly up last year over the previous year, and we still have quite a steady flow of dependants, which nobody would wish to resist, but which shows that we have to be careful of the extent to which we make any relaxation in our entry control. I will tell my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary what the noble Lord has said, but I know from conversations that I have had preparatory to this debate that the situation about the pressure in Islamabad is well known.
Although I cannot say whether it is necessary to interview every single person, I think there is, as the noble Lord recognised, a certain dubiety in the case of some of the documents that are presented 588 for what is really a valuable privilege, that of coming to this country as a dependant. One has to be careful that people are not being let in under some false pretence. I am sure that the vast majority are perfectly genuine; but there is a good living to be made, I believe, in producing credentials which do not necessarily in the end stand up to scrutiny. It is for that sort of reason that I believe the Embassy staff are being rather careful. They also have, of course, the necessary appeal procedure in Islamabad. This, on account of the thoroughness with which it is done, does take a certain length of time, which may account for some of the delay to which the noble Lord referred. I am sure he would rather have a proper and thorough appeal procedure and have it take a little longer than have a terrible one which churns out injustice very quickly.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I apologise to the noble Viscount for intervening once again, but in the particular case that I mentioned the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary himself wrote to one of the right reverend Prelates opposite saying that he agreed that the lady in question was married to the husband who was living in this country, that the children were the children of the marriage, but nevertheless she still had to go for an interview which could not take place until June 4, 1973. All I was suggesting was that in his conversations with the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary the noble Viscount might suggest that as many as possible of these cases are processed by documentary evidence, thus eliminating the need for interviews which cause hold-up.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, the noble Lord is bowling me some very fast and unexpected balls, as I think he will appreciate. I simply cannot comment on this case, because I do not know about it. The only thing that I can do—on his own words it was the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary who wrote—is to say that I will pass on what he has said to my right honourable friend.
My Lords, I think I should close on what has been one of the main themes of this debate. Practically everybody who has spoken has asked that we should 589 do something about the law of nationality. As a matter of fact, the idea of a Select Committee has already been raised in another place, I think by the honourable and learned gentleman the Member for Northampton, and in reply to him my right honourable friend the Home Secretary said that this was certainly something that he would like to bear in mind at a rather later stage. I cannot remember which noble Lord it was—or it may have been the noble Baroness—who said that we rather tended in these affairs to wait until there was a crisis, and then act. That is not happening here. Nobody supposes that the review of the law of nationality will be a panacea. I think everybody appreciates that, because there are limitations to what one can do. As one noble Lord with a diplomatic background told us—I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow—we must have the proper technical information. But I also agree with him that that alone is not enough. We must get the very complicated state of the law sorted out, and we must also find out what is the state of the law about citizenship in a large number of other countries whose citizens, or people living within their territory, could be severely affected by anything we did in the way of change of our citizenship law.
Then, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, that in this connection we need to consult the Commonwealth fully. Whether one does that at a conference or in a rather more technical atmosphere where one can get down, at any rate to start with, to some of the nuts and bolts of the matter, so that we can see what the possible policy decisions might be, I do not know. One thing is perfectly plain: the noble Lord is quite right in thinking that we shall need to have wide consultations inside the Commonwealth before anything is done. Whether these can take place in time for the Prime Ministers' Meeting in Ottawa I do not know, but I take his point and I agree with him. So we must proceed quickly, and when we have the necessary information and some ideas on the necessary policy it may well be, as has already been suggested, that the matter could be examined by a Select Committee. Exactly whether this would be the right way to do things, I do not know, but I am sure that the words of 590 my right honourable friend—he has already said that he will bear this in mind—will be given considerable impetus by the views expressed in your Lordships' House this afternoon. Certainly if (as, for example, occurred with the Army Act of 1955) the House could assist in framing a measure, I am sure this would greatly assist the passage of that measure when it came to be legislated upon. We could also draw upon the experience of so many Members of your Lordships' House and of another place.
I thank the House for a useful and constructive debate except, I regret, in the case of the noble Lord, Lord Foot. I do not know whether the House wishes to "take note", as the Motion suggests. I frankly do not mind very much whether or not the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, withdraws his Motion, because the fact of the matter is that the House has taken note of the Rules and has debated them very fully. I thank the noble Lord for having given us the opportunity to do so.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
My Lords, I shall not keep you for very long. We have been discussing this subject on an appropriate day—the first day that immigration officials have ever gone on strike—and on their behalf I should like to thank everyone who has spoken to-day, in the hope that what has been said collectively here will help to make their task easier in the long run. I should like to thank the two maiden speakers in particular. I much admired the clarity and foresight of the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, though I hope I shall not be thought impertinent in saying so. The noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, got up and sat down again so quickly that I missed him, because I was correcting my speech in Hansard; but I have been told from all quarters of the powerful contribution that he made.
I have run out of classical allusions, and all that I have down on this piece of paper are two phrases: "No room for complacency" and, "Trapped by history". I do not believe there is any room for complacency, and I believe this debate has shown the Government that there are many Members of your Lordships' House who feel that the situation is by no means perfect. But I do not think that we are trapped by history. We are in the middle of two very powerful forces—there is history on one side, 591 represented by our links with the Commonwealth, and economics on the other side, represented by the pull of migrant labour from all parts of the world to this country in order to do the jobs that we do not want to do ourselves. I believe we must make really determined efforts to resolve the conflict in a spirit of humanity and that one of the first steps in doing this would be to have a thorough look at our law of nationality.
I wish to thank all noble Lords who have supported and, in part, welcomed my ideas on this topic. As I feel that your Lordships' House ought to be a positive place, I believe that we ought to take note of these Immigration Rules.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.