Regulations and Legislation

Immigration Law

 Comprehensive regulation of immigration is a modern area of law, which grew particularly during the late 20th century as ordinary people became more globally mobile, and the United Kingdom became an increasingly attractive place to live and work. The original inhabitants of the British Isles are thought to be Celtic, though for centuries people from surrounding countries had come to settle. Notably, the Roman invasion of 50BC brought many Latin settlers, the Viking expansion around Scandinavia brought many people of that origin from the 8th century to the 11th century, and the Norman conquest of England from 1066 established that the original monarchy from north France. After that, laws were sparse. The common law recognised a general distinction between aliens and citizens, and a citizen would be someone born in England, or a dominion. Soon, the Status of Children Born Abroad Act 1350 allowed children born abroad to two English parents to be English. Moreover the British Nationality Act 1772 allowed people to be considered English if their father was, although born abroad. Others would generally need permission to migrate. One of the earliest statutes was the Egyptians Act 1530, which stated that "people calling themselves Egyptians", though actually gypsies were to be expelled because they had engaged in crafty trickery, by telling fortunes. Another piece of targeted legislation was the Jewish Naturalization Act 1753, passed at the insistence of Whig members of Parliament to allow people of Jewish origin to settle in Britain in return for Jewish support against the Jacobite uprising. It was, however repealed a year later.


One of the first modern statutes was aimed at restricting Jewish immigration, following religious persecution in Russia. The Aliens Act 1905 required registration and placed general controls under the authority of the Home Secretary.