As Britain emerged from the Second World War, the government was faced with the realisation that additional labour was urgently needed in order to accomplish the mammoth task of rebuilding and restructuring the nation and its economy. More than a year after the end of hostilities in Europe, the country was still employing 350,000 prisoners of war, and in February 1946 the Foreign Labour Committee (FLC) was created, the aims of which were to ‘examine in the light of existing manpower shortages, the possibility of making increased use of foreign labour, particularly in essential industries which are now finding special difficulty in recruiting labour’.1