Bayo Olusanya: ‘Immigration’

Bayo Olusanya, ‘Immigration’, The Student, 26/04/1962.

Before the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act passed, citizens of Commonwealth countries could migrate to Britain with relative ease. After 1962 only those with government-issued employment vouchers could settle. Leader of the opposition, Labour MP Hugh Gaitskell, denounced the bill as “cruel and brutal anti-colour legislation.” Bayo Olusanya also criticised the Act in The Student newspaper.

It is very true that there is a net influx of people into this country. This, coupled with the normal increase in the population due to the birth rate being higher than the death rate, will surely lead to an overpopulated Great Britain in some time to come. The Immigration Bill, however, is not designed to solve this problem; it is only designed to yield to the pressure of a few intolerant citizens of this country who have either forgotten the past or have no knowledge of it.

In other words, the bill is more correctly described as the Colour Prejudice Bill, since the main block of immigrants who come here to work comprise the Irish, West Indians, Pakistanis and a few Africans. The mere fact that the bill does not affect the Irish makes this very clear.

The supporters of the bill, and their representatives as may be expected, however, allege that these immigrants when they come do not find jobs because they are unskilled and so constitute a social problem. The Home Secretary’s figures, however, confirm that 95 per cent of the coloured immigrants are working. The main bulk of the remaining five per cent consist of the only few who are skilled.

What I am most concerned about is that the Bill is said to have no effect on the students – in fact nearly all of them go away when they finish. It has been brought to my notice that this Bill regards as students only people who attend a minimum average of three hours instruction per day, in other words, 15 hours per five-day week.

According to the Medical Faculty programme for the summer terms, not a single one of about 200 first year medics, dentals and vets is a student this term according to the Bill. In other words, all those of them who are from overseas are immigrants.

I can give you many more facts for consideration, but the space I am allowed is limited and I will just end up by asking whether this Bill is really necessary, for its adoption will be a very long stride towards dissolving the Commonwealth.