Home Secretary Theresa May is planning to push through a change to the visa system that will let the government officially claim there are 20,000 fewer immigrants to the UK, despite that not being the case.
Under the plans, the government will shorten visas by as little as one day so they are not officially recorded as migrants, according to the Financial Times.
At the moment, foreign workers brought by companies to Britain on one-year visas count towards immigration statistics, but the Home Office now intend to reduce the maximum stay for Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) to just under 12 months.
The Home Office says that it wants to impose new curbs on ICT visas over fears they are being abused.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Neil Carberry of the Confederation of British Industry said: “We are in a pretty dangerous place if we are redesigning the tiers of the immigration system in order to meet a political target.
Figures released in February showed that net migration had increased by a third last year to 212,000 from 154,000 in the previous year. It is thought that this increase was driven by a surge in the number of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain, whose numbers increased from 9,000 to 24,000 year-on-year.