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The Immigration Act 1971 (c 77) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning immigration. The Act, as with the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, and that of 1968, restricts immigration, especially primary immigration into the UK. It introduced the concept of patriality or right of abode. It was also partly passed to legally clarify the rights of Commonwealth citizens within the United Kingdom in preparation for future membership of the European Communities which the UK became a member state on 1 January 1973 which gave new automatic rights to EC member state citizens. It is connected in relation to deportation notices, at sections 11 and 23 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Immigration Act 1971[1]
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to amend and replace the present immigration laws, to make certain related changes in the citizenship law and enable help to be given to those wishing to return abroad, and for purposes connected therewith.
Citation1971 c. 77
Royal assent28 October 1971
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended



Harold Wilson's Labour government proposed the commonwealth Immigrants act of 1968 in response to the threat of 200000 Asian immigrants leaving Kenya due to its attempts at 'Africanisation' in 1967. The act was passed in just three days, partly due to the support and fierce drive of then home secretary James Callaghan. This broke from the non-discriminatory immigration policy that had preceded it. The government saw a need to appease Canada, New Zealand and Australia over the future negative impact on them when Britain would join the European Economic Community that would be hardest on people who had immigrated from Britain in the expectation of continued close ties.[2]


One result of the Act was to stop the permanent migration of workers from the Commonwealth. It further elaborated the definition of "patrial" migrants, first introduced in the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968, as persons born in the United Kingdom and persons who had resided there for the previous five years or longer.[3]


  • Part I Regulation of Entry into and Stay in United Kingdom
  • Part II Appeals
  • Part III Criminal Proceedings
  • Part 3A Maritime enforcement
  • Part IV Supplementary
  • Schedule 1
  • Schedule 2 Administrative Provisions as to Control on Entry etc.
  • Schedule 3 Supplementary Provisions as to Deportation
  • Schedule 4 Integration with United Kingdom Law of Immigration Law of Islands
  • Schedule 4A Enforcement powers in relation to ships
  • Schedule 5 The Adjudicators and the Tribunal
  • Schedule 6 Repeals

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Short title as conferred by s. 37 of the Act
  2. ^ Williams, Callum (2 October 2015). "Patriality, Work Permits and the European Economic Community: The Introduction of the 1971 Immigration Act". Contemporary British History. 29 (4): 508–538. doi:10.1080/13619462.2014.1002775. ISSN 1361-9462.
  3. ^ Marmo, Marinella; Smith, Evan (17 January 2014). "The Myth of Sovereignty: British Immigration Control Policy and Practice in the 1970s". Historical Research. 87 (236): 344–369. doi:10.1111/1468-2281.12047.

Further readingEdit