The history of immigration to Britain is marked by two major developments: being rather initiative and encouraging at first immigration policies soon turned to a discouraging direction since the late 1950s.
In early times especially immigrants of Irish origin came to Great Britain in order to leave either population growth or bad harvests behind.
Attracted by economic and educational opportunities this largest group of immigrants ( in 1841: 400,000) decided to start a new life in a country which at that time welcomed their arrival and did not regard their presence as a threat.
After the Irish internal immigration the first political pressure against immigration turned up, when in the late 19th and early 20th century poor, small Jewish traders and artisans followed in large numbers (1880: 60,000; 1920: 240,000) to escape political suppression.
Therefore its results were visible in a strong anti-semitism throughout the country.
Furthermore with the Alien Restriction Acts of 1914 and 1919, which did not affect British citizens from colonies or dominions, this time was marked by a first breeze of the later following discouragement, as from then on aliens had to register with the police, could be refused entry or even be deported.
Due to the post-war situation and high unemployment within the country immigration decreased to about 60,000 mostly European refugees per year.
Nevertheless in the aftermath of World War II an increase had to be recognized again, since Britain was destroyed, poor and found itself in the economic necessity to attract workforce from outside.
This development led to the British National Act of 1948, which allowed citizens of the Commonwealth to enter Britain freely, work there and even bring their families. Consequently this development was followed by a huge wave of immigration concerning especially the Caribbean (15,300-171,800 from 1951-1961), Indian (30,800-81,400) and Pakistani...