A brief history of UK immigration law 1066-2018AD anyone?

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by Slo-mo, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Yes immigration is back in the news again, this time Commonwealth immigrants who were here before 1971.

    But my own experience and knowledge only goes back to the very late 80s. What was the situation before 1948? Before 1906? I'm obviously being flippant choosing 1066 as a start date, but there was certainly some immigration to Victorian Britain, wasn't there? Was there chaos in 1906 in terms of proving who was and wasn't in the UK at that point. Or did they just enforce the rules at the ports and 'aliens' simply weren't allowed in at all?

    And what was the situation for European immigrants before 1992? There was a large Greek community in London by 1989. Like a true nerd I know this because this was the year London Greek Radio started. Did EU citizens have the right to come here before 1992? Actually I recall 80s London having quite a lot of immigrant communities although obviously not as many as today.

    Just looking for some context away from the melee of the current affairs forum.
     
  2. moochedit

    moochedit Mr Mooched It

  3. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Interesting. That article seems to suggest EU workers had the right to live and work in the UK from the begining of UK membership (ie 1973). That certainly isn't how I remember it. I clearly remember worries in the media around 1990 ish about economic migrants coming to the UK from Europe post 1992. I was still in my mid teens then, but I was a mega current affairs nerd and I remember this fuss quite clearly. At the time it was probably overstated because only a couple of EU countries at the time were signifcantly poorer than the UK.
     
  4. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Up to my knees in amniotic fluid

    I grew up in the 70's in North London and I was always aware of a large Greek population, especially around Harringay and Islington.
     
  5. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    There wasn't even a UK for the majority of that time frame. Nor were there even nation-states for much of it. You need to start with the changes in modes of production. Context.
     
    Celyn likes this.
  6. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    No it doesn't. You're confusing the European economic community, the European community and the European Union. It clearly says membership of the ec encompassed free movement, not membership of the eec.
     
    Badgers likes this.
  7. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    1290 was a bad year.
     
  8. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Up to my knees in amniotic fluid

    By the mid 18th century, London had the largest Black population in Britain, made up of free and enslaved people, as well as many runaways. The total number may have been about 10,000.[31]
    Slavery in Britain - Wikipedia
     
    Slo-mo likes this.
  9. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    The EEC also included a notion of 'free movement' - that was one of the reasons about people objecting to those (poor) Spaniards and Portuguese joining. You had to have an actual job offer before you could take advantage of it though.
     
    Slo-mo likes this.
  10. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    19 Princelet Street - Home

    If ur in London I have been to 19 Princelet street. I really old house in Shoreditch. Never modernised. Old guy lived there and didn't alter it.

    Originally home for Hugeonot weavers. It ended up as home to East European Jews in late 19c who turned part of it into synagogue.

    Which is still there.

    Its only open few days a year. It's always part of the Open house in London.

    Well worth a visit.
     
    Slo-mo likes this.
  11. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

  12. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    My family can be traced back to 1066 on my mum's side. So it was downhill from there really :D
     
    farmerbarleymow and Slo-mo like this.
  13. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood

    this ennit: Westphalian sovereignty - Wikipedia ?

    I don't know if its tied to the equally often assumed idea that 'capitalism is as old as exchange, in fact it IS exchange' but the idea of nation states as they are today being what has always been since the first warlord called himself a god or a ceaser or a king, it persists.
     
  14. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Another way to look at history of immigration is through literature.

    I read Zadie Smith first novel White Teeth recently. A sprawling novel covering history of several generations of immigrants to this country. A lot of history of immigration has to be related to British colonialism. Something this novel does well.

    Written a while back the novel comes across as overly optimistic now. Zadie assumed this country was moving to post racial society. Things have with Brexit moved backwards.

    White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    Immigration cannot be separated from attitudes to race and colonialism.

    I really liked this novel and it seemed accurate to me. As someone who has lived in London a long time.

    I find it depressing and it makes me angry this country has moved backwards since this novel was written.
     
  15. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    This documentary "Nine Muses" by British director Akomfrah is well worth seeing.

    The Nine Muses (2010) - IMDb

    Its not your run of the mill doc. Akomfrah was part of the Black audio film collective. Influence includes Stuart Hall. Who Akomfrah did a doc about.

    Nine Muses mixes footage of Afro Carribbean people arriving in UK with quotes from the Odyssey. Shouldn't work but builds up to be very moving. It's about the experience of migration. It is not about whether they "fitted in" or "assimilated"into British society.

    The doc makes one think that migration should not be seen as a social problem / issue that needs to be dealt with. The experience of migration is an existential experience.

    The doc moves the debate away from the "problem" of immigration to looking at experience of migration. Universalising it.
     
  16. Passports were not required for entry to the UK until around WW1 or so with the introduction of British Nationality and Status Aliens Act , requiring aliens to be registred
     
    friendofdorothy and Slo-mo like this.
  17. Mordi

    Mordi Amoral adventurist

    Ian Hislop did a surprisingly informative program on this topic for the BBC last year. One of the key points was the perception of Beligan refugees during WW1 in comparison with the rhetoric and climate today. At the time I wished it had gone on a little further to cover the conflicting response to Jewish foreign nationals in the run up to the second world war, which seems a little more relevant in terms of the level of prejudice directed at migrants by the state.
     
  18. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    One question if I may. In between 1948 and 1971, was it complete freedom of movement within the Commonwealth? Could someone from Pakistan decide to go to Australia, for example? I know a lot of people from the UK emigrated to Oz at that time, but was it completely open door policy?
     
  19. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Driving without headlights

    The 1948 British Nationality Act was a response to the 1947 decision to allow individual commonwealth states to set their own laws as regards immigration.

    It took the Australians a while to get rid of their postwar 'White Australia' policies which prevented migration from Asia. Not until 1975 did it finally become illegal to use race as a selection criterion for immigrants.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
    Slo-mo likes this.
  20. Idris2002

    Idris2002 incels to the gulag

    I think Canada was the first country anywhere to have an explicitly non-racist immigration policy.
     
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