All hope lost for government’s electioneering immigration targets – the Quarterly Report

 

The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (August 2014) on long-term immigration, published yesterday, appears to crush Coalition government hopes of a significant net drop in immigration in time for the next election.

Net migration was up to 243k in the year ending March 2014, a 39% increase on  previous year’s 175k. Emigration was fairly stable, so the increase is down to migration to the country (exactly the figure focussed on by the government and media in recent debate). 

Key Figures (reproduced from the ONS website)

  • Net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 243,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • While net migration has increased since the most recent low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012, it remains below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.
  • 560,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 492,000 in the previous 12 months. Two-thirds of the increase is accounted for by immigration of EU citizens (up 44,000 to 214,000).
  • An estimated 316,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending March 2014. Long-term emigration has been relatively stable since 2010.
  • 28,000 EU2 (Romanian and Bulgarian) citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 12,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • There was a statistically significant increase in immigration for work (up 38,000 to 228,000), driven by increases for EU15 and EU2 citizens. Estimated employment of EU citizens was 17% higher in April to June 2014, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
  • Immigration for study remained stable (177,000) in the year ending March 2014. Study visas granted in year ending June 2014 rose 7%, reflecting higher levels of university-sponsored applications (applications for other education sectors fell).
  • 265,000 non-EU citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014. This ends a steady decline since the recent peak of 334,000 in 2011.
  • Work and study visas granted rose 10% (+14,799) and 7% (+13,885) respectively in the year ending June 2014, compared to the previous year, following a decline since 2011. The increase in work visas was largely accounted for by skilled work (+11,744).
  • There were 23,479 asylum applications (main applicants) in the year ending June 2014, similar to the previous 12 months (23,523), but low relative to the 2002 peak (84,132).
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
 
 
 Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

Clegg Accepts Immigration Battlelines (and shows he can do the math)

Reacting to the release of immigration statistics showing 234k net migration in year to March, the Deputy Prime Minister  claimed Tory immigration reduction targets are meaningless.

The figures were today  released by the Office of National Statistics who said they represent a statistically significant rise from 175k the previous year.

Speaking on his LBC phone in, Nick Clegg observed “… you could have million people leave the country and a million come in and hey presto you’ve met the target of no net immigration, so I don’t think it makes much sense”.

I have checked the math myself and he is correct. But this is hardly profound stuff and it is a shame that our political leaders seem set to knock these important issues around until the next election. Goats in rut.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

The Right Digs In Over Immigration

Russia Today reports that Sir Gerald Howarth, MP (Conservative) has chosen to align himself with Enoch Powell in describing his position on immigration. He wis reported to have written in a letter to a constituent “clearly, the arrival of so many people of non-Christian faith has presented a challenge, as so many of us, including Enoch Powell, warned decades ago… . Recent events have illustrated that some of these new arrivals have a very different ethos from traditional Christian schools and we are right to intervene to prevent them from teaching divisive ideology…”

Howarth has quoted Powell in the past, for example in Parliamentary debate marking the death of former Conservative PM Thatcher, and in December 2013, he said in the course of an immigration debate, “its the numbers- that is what Enoch Powell was trying to draw attention to in 1968, for which of course, he got roundly traduced”.

It is perhaps a sign of the times that in the half year leading up to a General Election a Conservative MP is happy to refer with approval to the 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech for which Powell’s opposition to  Commonwealth immigration and anti-dicrimination legislation became notorious.

On his website, Howarth presents as a traditional standard-issue Tory, opposed to same sex marriage, in favour of Killing badgers, no fan of “the equality mantra”, etc, etc. And respect to him for speaking his mind so honestly and without any concession to new-fangled, modern notions of decency and respect for others. We know where we are, at least.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

US and Australia to Share Immigration Information

US and Australian governments have agreed to  2-way visa and immigration sharing. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said strengthening border controls through the use of technology had never been more important. Immigration Minister said “appropriate immigration information” would be shared in accordance with the countries’ respective privacy laws.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

Clegg Critical of “Rigidities” in UK Visa System

Emboldened by distance (he is in India) and the proximity to the end of the coalition (2015 is General Election year) the Deputy Prime Minister is speaking his mind on immigration.

Nick Clegg, on a trade visit to India, spoke out after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi. His tone contrasted with the that of recent utterances on immigration issues from the Home Secretary and Prime Minister which have been hostile and unwelcoming- designed to appeal to core Tory supporters.

Clegg calls for a relaxation of visa rules affecting students and some workers from India and other non EEA countries and speaks of a more welcoming attitude to foreign students (which wouldn’t take much, after all). The official government approach is to cap numbers of students (as part of a vote-winning squeeze on immigration generally). Clegg also suggested science and engineering graduates should be given more extra leave to remain at the end of their studies.

Prospective students from India are reported to have been deterred for coming to Britain by bureaucracy.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

Heseltine Says: Don’t Cut Student Visa Numbers

Lord Hesleltine (the former Conservative Minister and Deputy Prime Minister) has responded to the Universities UK/British Future think tank poll (see Public Support for UK Student Visas post, below) by pointing out that “the public do not see students who come and go as part of the immigration problem” and that students bring “huge financial stability” to universities. In other words he is effectively telling PM Cameron that he won’t be getting any popularity points for reducing numbers of UK Student Visas (the public are not stupid enough to swallow that trick) and since such reductions would come at a considerable public cost, he risks getting his fingers burned. Well said.

Public Support for UK Student Visas

A poll carried out on behalf of Universities UK and think tank British Future suggests the British public do not support the present government’s attempts to limit the number of UK student visas issued in future. This follows last month’s Prime Ministerial statement of intention to reduce net migration to the UK and to set absolute numerical limits on the number of UK student Visas issued. International students are the largest single group of migrants from non EEA states to be counted in the Governments reduction figure.
The study reports surprise expressed by poll participants when they are told that students are counted as immigrants for this purpose. 59% of participants thought the government should not reduce the number of international students. Around 75% of participants felt international students should be allowed to stay on an work in the UK after their studies.
It seems there is a gulf between the support shown for general populist anti-immigration policies as described in dumbed-down form in an attempt to foster public support in the last months before the next general election, and the opinion of the British Public when they are properly informed about these policies. The truth is that international student are a large and easy target- reducing their numbers is the quickest means to achieve the government’s self-imposed immigration targets.
But this approach comes at a cost to the nation- international students contribute significantly in financial terms to the UK; And what is the benefit, exactly? The politicians showcase policies about foreign criminals, immigrants seeking to take advantage of benefits or the NHS or people coming to work illegally and and the end of the trick they hope to appear (by sleight of hand) to have reduced immigration numbers (concealing the fact that its mostly a different kind of immigrant they’ve counted).
Educational providers, who as registered sponsors fulfil part of the pre-visa suitability checking process, will lose their highly trusted status if 10% or more of their Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) students fail to get a UK student visa.