The 1905 Aliens Act

Anne Kershen looks at the background to a significant benchmark in British anti-immigration legislation.

The Aliens Act of 1905 was a watershed in British history, marking as it did a victory for the opponents of unrestricted alien access into Britain. It was significantly the first such legislation to be passed in peacetime. In the context of what was to follow, it was the point at which the liberal, ‘Open Door’ approach to immigration began to close; a process that continued throughout the twentieth century.

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