Table of Contents
  1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………3
  2. Background on Immigration in the UK……………………………………………3

III. Reasons for Increase in Immigration…………………………………………….4

  1. The Nationality Act of 1948………………………………………………….4
  2. Displacement…………………………………………………………………5
  3. The Indian Migration…………………………………………………………5
  4. Pakistan Migration……………………………………………………………6
  5. The Commonwealth Act of 1962…………………………………………….6
  6. Asylum Seekers………………………………………………………………7
  7. The UK Economy…………………………………………………………….7
  8. Illegal Immigration……………………………………………………………8
  9. Refugees………………………………………………………………………8
  10. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….9

 

Immigration in Britain after World War II

Introduction

World War II was an event that changed the course of history and influenced many economic and social policies as we know them today. The war was global in nature and lasted from 1939 to 1945. The war involved two major opposing military alliances, the Allies and the Axis. The Allies comprised of the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union as major participants. The Axis on the other hand was led by Germany, Italy and Japan. It is important to note that more than 30 countries were affected by the war which involved over 100 million individual participants. The war was the deadliest in human history with casualties ranging from between 50 million to 85 million[1].

The United Kingdom or rather Britain was one of the nations that were heavily affected by the war. This is major because the United Kingdom was a major participant in the war. In addition to exhibiting major losses in terms of destruction of property and loss of life, the war came with major repercussions or rather consequences after it had ended in 1945. Some of these consequences included the drafting of new legislation and the adoption of new techniques of engaging with allies and hostile countries[2] . One major consequence, however, was the increase in immigration exhibited in the UK after World War II.

Background on Immigration in the UK

            Britain has had a long history of immigration. Britain has been the recipient of many groups of people coming to settle in it from all corners of the globe. Most immigrants entering the UK, however, have emanated from the European Union with Ireland producing the largest number. One of the main reasons for this is the potato famine which rocked Ireland in the 1940s[3]. In the recent years, many citizens from Eastern European countries, the Middle East and Asia have immigrated to the UK looking for greener pastures. There has however been a negative notion about immigrants stereotyping them to be from poorer nations. This is not true as the reasons that lead to immigration range from seeking adventure to looking for employment opportunities.

From the mid-eighteenth century up to the 1950s the British Empire possessed many territories all over the globe in terms of colonies. The majority of immigrants entering the UK after the Second World War majorly comprised of citizens from its former colonies which had since been granted independence.

 

Reasons for Increase in Migration

  1. British Nationality Act of 1948

As earlier outlined, this was a legislative act which facilitated or rather paved the way for the immigration of up to 800 million new immigrants from British Colonies. This was aimed at helping the United Kingdom rebuild its economy and industries after the destructive war[4]. It is important to note that Britain was largely affected by the Second World War. Most of its labor force had been casualties of the ear during the period. As a result, the country faced challenges in effectively rebuilding its industries. This warranted the government to establish steps and measures that would ensure that labor is accessed from other territories under its rule. The result of this was the drafting of the British Nationality Act of 1948. This came into effect as of the 1st of January 1949,

The act effectively created the new position within the United Kingdom which was the “citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.” This provided citizenship to individuals born or even naturalized in the UK or any of its colonies. This affected the high increase in immigration numbers exhibited in the UK during the 1950s and 60s[5].

  1. Displacement

Displacement was a major reason for the increase in immigration to the United Kingdom after the Second World War. Approximately over 5 million people were displaced across all of Europe as a result of the war[6]. This was major because of the political tensions and wars that existed in various jurisdictions during and after the war. Most of these displaced persons emanated from Soviet-controlled territories which were relatively inhabitable due to political and social tensions. For example, the number of displaced persons from Poland who subscribed as volunteer workers to the United Kingdom stood at 162,339, up from 44,612 that was recorded in 1931[7]. The UK, therefore, recruited these displaced persons in a bid to facilitate its economic and industrial revival[8]. It is also important to note that the lenient immigration rules were a major reason for the absorption of these displaced persons into the United Kingdom.

  1. The Indian Migration

The UK also exhibited a significant increase in the number of immigrants from India. Approximately 60,000 Indians had immigrated to the United Kingdom by 1955. This immigration peaked from 1965 to 1972. This was driven by the declaration by Idi Amin, the then president of Uganda, that Indians were no longer wanted in the country. Many Indians, therefore, sought refuge in the United Kingdom thus. During this period, over 30,000 Indians entered the United Kingdom from Uganda alone[9]. However, it is important to note that most Indians who entered the UK in the early stages were encouraged by the thriving UK economy and the investment opportunities that existed in Britain at the time[10].

 

  1. Pakistan Migration

Following the attainment of independence by Pakistan, the UK exhibited an influx of immigrants emanating from the region. This majorly resulted from the political instability and tension following the partition of India which created a major conflict in the region. Being a former UK colony, many Pakistanis took advantage of the lenient immigration laws in the UK and settled there[11]. The partition of India basically resulted from the division of British India. This was a bloody and violent event which led to the division of British India into countries, India and Pakistan. Approximately 14 million people were displaced due to religious profiling and political instability. The result of this was one of the largest refugee and humanitarian crises ever witnessed in the region. Based on the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, the UK had no alternative but to absorb some of the displaced persons from the region.

  1. The Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962

The Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 was an act that restricted the entry of immigrants to the United Kingdom. This was by making Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who did not possess passports directly issued by the UK government subject to immigration control procedures. It is important to note that before the act was passed into law, Commonwealth citizens could enter the United Kingdom without any restrictions[12]. This was a major reason for the high immigration numbers exhibited immediately after the war[13]. The only requirement that was needed for one to access Britain was accessing a British Passport. However, due to increasing security threats from Britain’s enemies and the increasing unrest amongst its citizens regarding its immigration policy, the UK government had to review its laws on immigration. This led to the drafting of amendments leading up to the enactment of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962.

  1. The UK Economy

The British economy after World War II was a major contributor to the exhibition of a significant increase in immigration numbers. The British economy took a major hit during the war leading to the destruction of industries and the decline in economic growth. In order to revive its industries and grow its economy, immigration into the United Kingdom was made easier with the aim of accessing both skilled and unskilled labor. This was aimed at reviving the labor force within the United Kingdom which had decreased significantly because of casualties during the war[14]. Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is one of the leading factors that have facilitated the exhibition of an increase of immigrants within the United Kingdom. For example, in 2005, a study established that up to 570,000 immigrants entered in the UK illegally on an annual basis[15]. This is a considerably high number taking into consideration some of the stringent regulations governing immigration in the UK such as the Commonwealth Act of 1962. Illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom include individuals who have entered the UK without informing the authorities, used false documents to enter the country and those who have overstayed their visas[16].

  1. Refugees

Following the signing of the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, the United Kingdom is obliged to take up refugees coming from various troubled regions all over the globe. This was a major contributor to the increase in immigration that was witnessed after World War II. Most refugees offered to stay in the United Kingdom majorly originated from the Middle East and Africa. A good example that led to an increase in immigration to the United Kingdom was the partition of India as has been addressed above. Other factors leading to an increase in refugees within the UK included the Ugandan Crisis in the 1970s and the tension and political turmoil in the Soviet Union territories.

Conclusion

The United Kingdom or rather Britain has indeed exhibited an increase in immigration over the years. This, however, was significant during the immediate decades following the end of World War II. Some of the factors leading to this have been illustrated above and they include the British Nationality Act of 1948, displacement, illegal immigration, the UK economy, asylum seekers and the Pakistan migration just to mention a few. It is, however, important to state that a number steps have been taken to limit the number of immigrants entering the UK. This includes the passing of laws such as the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 and the British Nationality Act of 1981.

 

 

 

 

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[1] Kriesberg, L., “A Constructive Conflict Approach to World Struggles”, (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 2015) vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 24-37.

 

[2] Kriesberg, L., “A Constructive Conflict Approach to World Struggles”, (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 2015) vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 24-37.

 

 

[3] CORBALLY, J., “The Othered Irish: Shades of Difference in Post-War Britain, 1948-71”, (Contemporary European History, 2015) vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 105-125.

 

[4] CORBALLY, J., “The Othered Irish: Shades of Difference in Post-War Britain, 1948-71”, (Contemporary European History, 2015) vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 105-125.

 

[5] CORBALLY, J., “The Othered Irish: Shades of Difference in Post-War Britain, 1948-71”, (Contemporary European History, 2015) vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 105-125.

 

[6] Braun, S.T., “Integrating Forced Migrants: Evidence from the Displacement of Germans after World War II”, (DICE Report, 2017) vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 3-5.

 

[7] Braun, S.T., “Integrating Forced Migrants: Evidence from the Displacement of Germans after World War II”, (DICE Report, 2017) vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 3-5.

 

[8] Simionescu, M., Bilan, Y. & Mentel, G., “ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF MIGRATION FROM POLAND TO THE UK”, (Amfiteatru Economic, 2017) vol. 19, no. 46, pp. 757-770

 

[9] Ahuja, R., “THE HISTORY OF POPULISM: A REVIEW OF THE POPULIST      EXPLOSION”, (Journal of International Affairs, 2017) vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 179-180.

 

[10] Crines, A., Heppell, T. & Hill, M., “Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech: A rhetorical political analysis”, (British Politics, 2016) vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 72-94.

 

[11] Mistri, M. & Orcalli, G., “The European Union’s immigration policy: a stalled form of the   strategy of conflict?”, (International Economics and Economic Policy, 2015) vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 239-256.

 

[12] Hansen, R., “Making Immigration Work: How Britain and Europe Can Cope with their       Immigration Crises (The Government and Opposition/Leonard Schapiro Lecture, 2015)”, (Government and Opposition, 2016) vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 183-208.

 

[13] CORBALLY, J., “The Othered Irish: Shades of Difference in Post-War Britain, 1948-71”, (Contemporary European History, 2015) vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 105-125.

 

 

[14] Crines, A., Heppell, T. & Hill, M., “Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech: A rhetorical political analysis”, (British Politics, 2016) vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 72-94.

 

[15] Goutor, D., “Crossing Borders: National and Theoretical”, (Labour, 2015)  vol. 76, pp. 199-212

 

[16] Matthijs, M., “Europe After Brexit: A Less Perfect Union”, (Foreign Affairs, 2017) vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 85-95.

 

 

Immigration in Britain after World War II