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5 - From Ignorance to Illegalisation

The Demise of the UK’s Non-individualised Immigration Control System, 1962–1971

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2023

Christina Boswell
University of Edinburgh
Emile Chabal
University of Edinburgh
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Until the early 1970s, UK immigration rules did not include a category of ‘illegal’ immigration. This chapter traces the shift from this largely permissive immigration regime based on the use of caps and criteria, to the more individualised approach based on illegalisation and individual punishment that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It shows how this new, individualised approach was considered by officials and the Labour government as a necessary response to political expectations, rather than a means of better steering migration. The individualised approach also necessitated - and enabled - new forms of state knowledge of irregular migrants. However, a lack of operational commitment to this approach led to relatively lax implementation, and a residual issue of limited state knowledge of unauthorised migrants.

States of Ignorance
Governing Irregular Migrants in Western Europe
, pp. 140 - 164
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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