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Immigration in the British Commonwealth

Nature volume 155, page 16 (06 January 1945) | Download Citation



A P E P broadsheet, "People for the Commonwealth" (No. 226), gives a review, with statistical appendix, of prospects for migration to the Dominions. The broadsheet concludes that the sparsely populated Dominions would benefit from a marked increase in population: their standard of living would thereby be higher and their military security buttressed. Natural increase is bound to be slight, even if the decline in fertility in the Dominions can be checked and even if death-rates continue to fall. There is no alternative to immigration, and it has been estimated that Canada should have 50 instead of 11·5 million people, Australia 20 instead of 7 million, South Africa 5 instead of 2·5 million white people, New Zealand 5 instead of 1·5 million. In the past, non-British immigration has been rigidly restricted to safeguard the British character of the Dominions, which still want British emigrants. All the Dominion Governments are receiving applications from people who want to leave Britain; but such discrimination will in future be incompatible with a large volume of immigration, since there are not likely to be many British emigrants after the War; nor will there be many from the other nationalities which have traditionally been preferred. In the inter-war period, Britain assisted emigrants to the Dominions. If such assistance is once again given after the War and evokes substantial response, the imminent decline in British population will be hastened, and in view of its ageing population, Britain's own standards of living will thereby be prejudiced and the task of reversing the decline made more difficult. If immigration from Asia is excluded, the only remaining source will be the countries of southern and eastern Europe, and there is no reason for thinking that, given time and expansionist economies in the Dominions, nationals of these countries could not be successfully absorbed.

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