Arbitrary targets to reduce migration are unlikely to work, argues Sarah Mulley of the Institute for Public Policy Research.
The debate on immigration will only ever be a productive one if it is based on accurate evidence, writes ippr’s Sarah Mulley.
The Government has today announced its long-trailed cap on immigration. The cap is more accurately described as a cap on skilled migration for work from outside the EU through Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points-Based System.
As the Government faces increasing resistance from business, universities and unions over its plans to cap skilled immigration, a study by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) reveals that only 25% of skilled migrants (Tier 1) were confirmed in skilled work and 29% of skilled migrants were working in low-skilled jobs. However – the UKBA data has been wildly misinterpreted by right wing newspapers, such as the Daily Mail.
Unfortunately, and not for the first time, Migrationwatch’s report on the cost of educating ‘migrants’ is not a useful basis for discussion.
Damian Green is to give his first speech as immigration minister later today, in which he will claim that the number of foreign students entering the UK is ‘unsustainable’, drawing on new Home Office research. The same research has also suggested that it will be very difficult for the Government to meet its target of reducing net immigration to under 100,000 a year.
New statistics show that net immigration to the UK (the surplus of people immigrating over people emigrating) in the year to December 2009 was 196,000. This compares with 163,000 in the year to December 2008, an increase of around 20 per cent (but is significantly lower than the peaks of around 220,000 seen in 2005 and 2007).
This week’s immigration and employment date are important, and contain important lessons for policymakers; they just aren’t the lessons which the papers suggest – and they aren’t just for the Home Office.
The internal contradictions of the Government’s immigration policy have been laid bare during the prime minister’s trip to India.
Theresa May yesterday announced the introduction of a temporary cap on skilled immigration to the UK, a policy which the FT estimates will cost every UK household £300 a year in extra taxes or reduced spending.