Report of the Department of Emigration, Labour and Social Welfare for 1956

Part IV - Emigration


66. The total number of persons who emigrated during 1956 was 4,492. This figure compares with 9,007 in 1955 and 11,447 in 1954 and the average of 5,751 for the post war period since 1946.

67. There were three main factors contributing to the drop a result of better wages, more social security and fuller employment. Thirdly, there was a slight recession in Australia which affected the rate of sponsor-ship normally accorded by settlers there to relatives and friends in Malta. A further factor which may have had some influence on the flow was the generally unsettled international situation. During 1956, 388 migrants returned to Malta. This number of returnees represents 8.6% of migrants leaving Malta during the year compared with 9.6% for 1955 and the average of 6.5% for the 11 year period since 1946.

68. The net migration figure for 1956 was 4,104 against 8,146 in 1955, 10,875 in 1954 and the average of 5,375 for the eleven-year period since 1946. This lower migratory flow generally accorded with the policy of the Government on the subject, and it would in clearly the policy of the Government:

"As already announced Government is working to a plan for the economic development of the Island. During the studies that were made in connection with the plan it was necessary for Government to ensure that the plan could be implemented both from the aspect of the capital required and from that of manpower. No plan is possible unless the workers are available, especially skilled workers ......

"To this end Government calculated the number of persons which these Islands could afford to lose to emigration without jeopardising the success of the plan for economic development. At the same time Government assessed what flow of emigration was necessary in order that, without causing damage to the economy of the Island, we wou"Emigration is of secondary importance and has to be geared to economic development in order to attain a common objective, namely, the raising of standards of living. Until such time as complete use of our fairly large reserves of manpower cannot be made, emigration will continue to be of some importance. Emigration, during such period, wully be invested in projects likely to aid directly the economy of the Island .......

"Emigration is of secondary importance and has to be geared to economic developement in ored to attain a common objective, namely, the raising of standard of living. Until such time as complete use of our fairly large reserves of manpower cannot be made, emigration will continue to be of some importance. Emigration, during such period, will also tend to reduce further calls for social investments on housing, hospitals, schools and roads. Any savings on expenditure of this nature can more usefully be invested in projects likely to aid directly the economy of the Island ......

"After studying the situation carefully the Government reached the following conclusions in regard to emigration. Emigration must carry on but at a rate to be determined by the tempo of the economic development of Malta. Within this limita-tion emigrants will continue to receive financial and other help .......

"The annual rate of emigration which the Government considers should obtain for the time being should be of an average not exceeding 5,000 persons ..."

69. In 1956, as has been the case since 1948, thelysis of the ages of migrants shows that 34% of the emigrants in 1956 were under 15 years (33% in 1955), 57% were 15 to 44 years old (55% in 1955) and 9% over 45 years (12% in 1955). The biggest number continues to be of the valuable working age group 15 to 44 years. The sex distribution in 1956 was more balanced than it has been in the past. Males accounted for 54% and females for 46%. These figures compare with 55% and 45% respectively in 1955, and with 66% and 34% in 1954.

70.Migrants constituted the following main occupational groups:




Total 1956

Total 1955

Professional, technical and related occupations





Managerial, administrative, clerical and related occupations





Sales and related occupations





Farming and fishing occupations





Mining and quarrying occupations





Operating transport occupations





Crafts, production process and related occupations





Service occupations





Miscellaneous (including housewives, children and other dependents)










71. The analysis of the movement by type of sponsorship continued to show that the main force behind it is that of "family attraction". The localities in Malta contributing the largest numbers of emigrants were Birkirkara, Hamrun, Marsa, Paola and Sliema.

72. The policy for financial assistance to migrants up to December 1956 coollows:


Stg 74,484

United Kingdom  

Stg 148,969


Stg 25,816

New Zealand

Stg 200


Stg 249,469


73. A feature of the movement to Australia was the sharp falling off in the flow in the second half of the year. In fact the first four months saw over 1,800 migrants leave with only 900 in the other eight months.

74. The passement in 1954 the Australian Government requested that for the year ending June 1956 not more than 5,000 migrants should be sent to Australia, and also placed a limit to the number and type of migrants eligible to receive the Australian contribution towards passage assistance.

75. In April 1956, the Minister of Emigration, Labour and Social Welfare accompanied by the Director of the Department visited Canberra to negotiate a new agreement. Certain modifications of the old agreement were suggested by the Australian Government concerning age limits of migrants eligible to the Australian contribution. Moreover, the Australian Government did not agree to an increase of the Commonwealth contribution which was first fixed in 1948. Whilst the negotiations were conducted in a continued to be governed by the 1948 agreement with certain modifications relating to the type of migrants eligible to Australian assistance and other matters. As a result, the only migrants eligible to Australian assistance in 1956 were those nominated by the Common-wealth, child migrants, and, within certain age groups, children, wives and parents of persons settled in Australia. The total number of migrants so assisted numbered 1,135 at a cost of Stg 25,816 to the Australian Government.

76. The number of migrants who went to Australia in 1956 as Common-wealth nominees was 32 workers and 103 dependents. The workers were selected by the Australian Technical Selection Officer who visited Malta on two occasions for the purpose.

77. During the same year, for boys and 39 for girls which could not be filled by Maltese child migrants.

78. The new settlers in Australia proceeded to the following states:



New South Wales


South Australia




Western Australia  









79. The movement to Canada between 1950 and 1954 was substantial, reaching the peak of 1,607 souls in 1951. This dropped considerably in 1955 and 1056 when only 425 and 383 migrants respectively left for Canada.

80. This country offers suitable opportunities for settlers for their close relatives.

81. In order to open more avenues, an agreement was reached in 1956 for the acceptance by Canada of up to 300 selected workers and their dependents in 1957. This type of movement may have the result of increasing the flow to that country and assist in the achievement of a greater diversification in the direction of the exodus from these islands.

United Kingdom

82. Migration to the United Kingdom has been of some importance in recent years, and a feature of this movement is the comparatively small number of returnees, considering the proximity of the two countries. It may be fairly assumed that many of those shown as returnees for statistical purposes are really persons who come back to Malta on short visits to their families. Were it not for the acute housing shortage, it is certain that migration to the United Kingdom would be on a much larger scale.

83. The number who emigrated in 1956 was 1,161. This was less than the number of emigrants for 1955 which was 1,872.

United States of America

84. Migration to U.S.A. continued under the restrictions imposed by the Walter-McCarran Act of 1952 which set a quota of 100 emigrants per annum.

85. In the consideration of applications under this quota, first preference is given to people whose presence in America is considered to be important to that country, such as doctors, engineers and draughtsmen. Second preference is giving to parents of American citizens. The third preferential class covers wives and minor children of permanently resident aliens in the United States of America. Brothers, sisters and adult children of American citizens, fall under the fourth preferential category, out of which, however, the U.S. Consulate in Malta is not yet authorised from Washington to process applications.

86. Wives and minor children of American citizens do not fall under the Malta quota. They are granted visas over and above the 100 limit allowed to the Island.

87. During 1956, 217 persons migrated to the U.S.A compared with 266 in 1955 and 1,293 in 1952 which was the last year without the restrictions introduced by the Walter-McCarran Act.

New Zealand

88. Following the agreement reached in June 1955 with the New Zealand Government for the admission of 100 migrants, it was not before July 1956 that the first four pioneers of this movement set out for that country. Although these migrants are known to be doing well they have not been followed by others from Malta as yet.

Pappaffy Emigration Fund

89. Besides the usual scheme for assistance from Government funds, another scheme exists for providing financial help to prospective emigrants from these Islands. This is the Pappaffy Emigration Fund, a bequest instituted by Giovanni di Nicolo Pappaffy, a native of Salonika who died in Malta in 1886. Assistance from the Fund is restricted to Malta-born male applicants aged 18 to 24 years. Candidates must also undergo a written examination and satil respects deserving of assistance and suitable or settlement overseas.

90. Assistance is in the form of a money-grant consisting of a subsidy of Stg 20 and a contribution towards cost of passage. Beneficiaries are bound by a written agreement to refund all money grants if they return to Malta within three years of departure.

91. During the year under review six migrants benefited from the Fund to the extent of Stg 176. 12s. 6d. as against Stg 556. 10s. 0d. paid out of the fund in the previous year when the number of migrants who received help was 20. Of the six migrants who migrated in 1956, 3 proceeded to Australia and 3 to the United Kingdom.

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