Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962
|Long title||An Act to make temporary provision for controlling the immigration into the United Kingdom of Commonwealth citizens; to authorise the deportation from the United Kingdom of certain Commonwealth citizens convicted of offences and recommended by the court for deportation; to amend the qualifications required of Commonwealth citizens applying for citizenship under the British Nationality Act, 1948; to make corresponding provisions in respect of British protected persons and citizens of the Republic of Ireland; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid|
|Citation||10 & 11 Eliz. 2 c. 21|
|Royal assent||18 April 1962|
Before the Act was passed, citizens of Commonwealth countries had extensive rights to migrate to the UK. In response to a perceived heavy influx of immigrants, the Conservative Party government tightened the regulations, permitting only those with government-issued employment vouchers, limited in number, to settle. The leader of the opposition in Parliament at the time, Hugh Gaitskell of the Labour Party, called the act "cruel and brutal anti-colour legislation".
The Act specified that all Commonwealth citizens without a connection to the UK (including Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKCs) who were not born in the UK and not holding a British passport issued by the British government) were subject to immigration control. Commonwealth citizens who were residing in the UK or who had resided in the UK at any point from 1960 to 1962 were exempted, as well as CUKCs and Commonwealth citizens holding a passport issued by the British government or who were born in the UK. The exemption also applied to wives and children under 16 of these people, or any person included on these people's passports.
These Acts resulted from widespread opposition to immigration in Britain from a variety of political groups, including the Conservative Monday Club, whose Members of Parliament were very active and vocal in their opposition to mass immigration.
- Short title as conferred by s. 21 of the Act; the modern convention for the citation of short titles omits the comma after the word "Act".
- Copy of the Act as originally passed archive.org
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