As the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, we think that it is a good idea to take a brief overview of the history of the United Kingdom immigration in the past six decades. The country has been a subject of turbulent changes since 1952 when Queen Elizabeth was crowned. The United Kingdom has continuously implemented stricter and stricter immigration rules.
Nevertheless, the inbound migration has dramatically grown. The post-war immigration to the UK commenced in the year 1950. Many workers from outside Europe and their families immigrated to the UK at that time. However, with the rising tide of immigrants, racial tensions in the United Kingdom society began to appear.
The Commonwealth Immigrants Act was introduced in 1962. Before that, all of the Commonwealth citizens could enter the United Kingdom without any special restrictions being applied to them. After that, they were subject to standard immigration control.
During the seventies, the UK implemented even stricter immigration restrictions. Commonwealth citizens could settle in the country only after they prove that they have British ancestors, or only if they are eligible for other kinds of UK visa.
Despite the limitations, 82 000 Commonwealth citizens came in Britain in the period between 1968 and 1975, most commonly through a work permit, or through obtaining permission to join their UK relatives.
With the decline of the manufacture during the eighties, it became even harder to obtain a work permit for the UK. Only highly skilled workers, who possessed advanced specialist knowledge and training in a particular professional area, were able to obtain a work permit.
In the year 2004 EU expanded when ten new states from Central and Eastern Europe were accepted into the Union. The UK did not impose regulations for citizens of Cyprus and Malta, so they could work in the country without any specific restrictions.
People from one of the other eight new EU members must register on the Workers Registration Scheme. This is, however, a very simple process. When Bulgaria and Romania entered the EU in 2007, Britain imposed heavy limitations on workers from these two countries, which are to be lifted in 2014.
The immigration policy in Britain continues to evolve and change. In periods of economic crises, recessions and depressions, the government usually implements very restrictive measures on inbound migration. In times when the economy is booming, more immigrants are allowed to enter the country. It is highly possible that the same pattern will continue into the future.
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