Tuesday, 8 June 2010

New Government Policy on Immigration capping is questioned

New official figures published on Thursday 27 May show a continued decline in net immigration to the UK. If current trends persist, net immigration may drop below 100,000 – putting the government on course to reach its much stated aim of reducing the level to “tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands.”
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics and the Home Office show:
  • Net migration to the UK (the surplus of people immigrating over people emigrating) in the year to September 2009 [1] was 142,000. This compares with 160,000 in the year to September 2008 – a decline of more than 11%.
  • Declining net emigration by British citizens included in this figure disguises an even more dramatic fall in net immigration by non-British citizens, which was just 185,000 in the year to September 2009, down almost 27% on the year to 2008 and compared with peaks of well over 300,000 in 2004/05.
  • Most striking is the fact that the UK is now seeing net emigration by citizens of A8 countries, for the first time since EU accession – 12,000 more A8 citizens left than arrived in the year to September 2009.
Tim Finch, Head of Migration at ippr, said:
'Until we know the number at which the new Government is going cap annual immigration it is impossible to be sure what impact it will have. But the latest figures raise questions over why it is needed at all, given that net immigration is declining anyway.
'Certainly, trying to cap immigration at artificially low levels, whatever the pressures of public opinion, would be counter productive as it would restrict the ability of UK employers to bring in highly-skilled workers and workers in shortage occupations which would only harm both public services like the NHS and the economic recovery.'


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