Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
Setting and Retracting the Welcome Mat: An Assessment of the development of British Immigration Policy 1948 to 1962
The Second World War had a devastating effect on Britain. Many people were killed; many areas of the country were in ruins. In the immediate post-war period, Britain was desperate for workers, to operate factories, help run the hospitals and maintain transport and other services. In 1948, the Government passed the British Nationality Act which effectively made all colonial and Commonwealth citizens British. This was the beginning of a recruitment drive for colonials to fill numerous available jobs. However, by 1962 it appeared that Commonwealth immigrants had worn out their welcome, and legislation pursued by the British government now sought to restrict their entry into Britain. This paper will attempt to trace key developments from the 1948 British Nationality Act (which gave colonials favourable status) to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1962 (which imposed certain restrictions on colonials).