Polish Resettlement Act 1947 - Legislation


When the Second World War ended, Joseph Stalin reneged on his Yalta promises and a Communist government was installed in Poland. Still, the British government wanted to maintain cordial relations with Stalin, who had popular appeal in the UK, and tried to persuade Poles in the UK to leave. Most Poles felt betrayed by their wartime allies. They refused to return to Poland, because of a range of reasons: the Soviet repressions of Polish citizens (1939–1946), Soviet conduct around the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the Trial of the Sixteen and other executions of pro-democracy Poles such as former members of the Home Army including Emil Fieldorf and Witold Pilecki, and finally, the creation of the Eastern Bloc.

The result was the Polish Resettlement Act 1947, Britain's first mass immigration law.

Large numbers of Poles, after occupying resettlement camps of the Polish Resettlement Corps, later settled in London, many recruited as European Volunteer Workers. Others settled in the British Empire, forming large Polish Canadian and Polish Australian communities.

In the 1951 Census, the Polish-born population of the UK numbered some 162,339, up from 44,642 in 1931.

At the same time, Britain's social and economic areas had been hard hit by the Second World War, and to rebuild itself physically and financially it required a workforce to do it quickly and effectively. The Polish Resettlement Act enabled Poles to settle in Britain and provide labour. They formed much of the Polish British community as it existed prior to Poland's accession to the European Union in 2004, and the mass immigration to Britain which followed.

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Famous quotes containing the word legislation:

    But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow, and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; the strongest usurper is quickly got rid of; and they only who build on Ideas, build for eternity; and that the form of government which prevails, is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Strictly speaking, one cannot legislate love, but what one can do is legislate fairness and justice. If legislation does not prohibit our living side by side, sooner or later your child will fall on the pavement and I’ll be the one to pick her up. Or one of my children will not be able to get into the house and you’ll have to say, “Stop here until your mom comes here.” Legislation affords us the chance to see if we might love each other.
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    There were two unpleasant surprises [about Washington]. One was the inertia of Congress, the length of time it takes to get a complicated piece of legislation through ... and the other was the irresponsibility of the press.
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