Rina Banti, Ph. D (History), Ministry of Education of Israel, Jerusalem
In this article the author traces the first wave of the Caribbean immigrants to the UK. The author focuses on the causes for the immigration, changes in the number of immigrants from the West Indies to the UK, and issues of their employment. These aspects are studied as an attempt to understand the British government’s efforts aimed at filling the lack of labour force in the economy during the postwar period. Researchers observed several reasons that caused an immigration of the British West Indies inhabitants to Britain. These areas were underdeveloped from an economic point of view, since money was not invested there, and an ‘excess’ of labor force that was formed in that area led to a continuing emigration to Central and South America and to the United States, and then, in the first half of the twentieth century, to the United Kingdom. The article also analyses the first steps taken by the British government aimed to reduce the migration flow from the region, which played an important role in shaping political and public positions on the issue of ‘colour’ immigration in British society in the subsequent years. British immigration laws in 1940 – 1960 – es (British Nationality Act 1948, Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1962) are characterized in this article. The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 was passed to restrict the number of Commonwealth immigrants to Britain. With the arrival of the first groups of migrants from the Caribbean in the post-war years, the issue of immigration from the former British colonies became the topic for discussion among British governmental authorities.
Key-words: UK, the West Indies, the Caribbean, colour immigration, the Commonwealth
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