I is for Immigration

A long, complex and rapidly changing series of legislation which is confusing and contentious. Immigration has been a fact of British history for centuries although it has only recently been a feature of local life in Rossendale.

A series of acts extended the right to abide in Britain to children of British parents who were born abroad. These included the Status of Children Born Abroad Act 1305 which granted English nationality to children of two English parents who were born abroad. This was extended in the British Nationality Act 1772 to the children of an English father who were born abroad.

Modern immigration law is often said to have commenced with the Alien's Act 1905 which introduced immigration controls and registration. This was designed to control the entry of paupers, vagrants and lunatics although it included restrictions on Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.

Nothing concentrates minds on immigration like a war, for good or ill. 1914 saw the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act (4 & 5 Geo V 17) defined how British Nationality could be acquired or lost whilst the Aliens Restriction (Amendment ) Act 1919 (9 & 10 Geo V c 92) covered the status of enemy aliens post WW1. I remember discussions on the compulsory internment of Palestinians during the 1991 Iraq war so the issue remains emotive.

The rights of entry for Commonwealth citizens were gradually tightened until by 1968 under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act they had to prove that they, a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK and by the Immigration Act 1971 Commonwealth citizens lost their automatic right to remain in the UK. In the meantime the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 introduced work vouchers for immigrants: Class A for Commonwealth citizens with specific jobs, Class B for Commonwelath citizens with specific skills but no job and Class C for everyone else. Commonwealth immigration into Rossendale increased in the period following WW2 as workers were recruited to work in the cotton and slipper mills. Their stories are told in the
Different Moons project.

The growth of the Single Market within the EU has led to the right of EU citizens to live and work anywhere within the EU. To date relatively few EU citizens have chosen to reside in Rossendale.

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 introduced the citizen test. I would fail it if the online test paper is anything to go by.