Immigration to the UK hit 650,000 before the Brexit vote, its highest ever estimated annual level, jumping by 11,000. Despite the record number, there is still a significant discrepancy between the official migration figures and the number of new National Insurance numbers issued to migrants.
According to the latest statistics from Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration, the difference between those arriving and leaving, was estimated to be 335,000 between July and September 2016.
The overall figure was comprised of 189,000 EU migrants and 196,000 non-EU migrants. Around 49,000 British citizens left the country.
According to the ONS, 311,000 migrants came for work reasons – the highest estimate recorded. Of them, 182,000 had a confirmed job go to, and a further 130,000 arrived looking for work.
However, a huge 824,000 migrants registered for a National Insurance Numbers (NINos) so they could work in the year ending September 2016 – 629,000 EU nationals and 195,000 non-EU nationals.
This means there is still a huge discrepancy (of around 174,000), and potential underestimation, by the ONS, well over a year after Breitbart London Editor in Chief Raheem Kassam questioned the ONS stats in August 2015.
In April this year, following the Breitbart expose and less than two months before the Brexit vote, the ONS was forced to reveal the true scale of EU migration to the UK.
The ONS said in 2014 that around 220,000 EU migrants had entered Britain over the previous year, yet separate figures showed 421,000 new NINos had been issued in the same period.
The revision meant that EU immigration into Britain had been nearly 1.5 million higher than previously thought.
The discrepancy had arisen because the ONS had refused in include what they classed as “short-term” migrants – people who are estimated or expected to stay less than a year – in the stats.
Commenting on Thursday’s figures, Mr. Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK, which campaigns for controlled immigration, said:
“These disappointing figures underline the need to take a strong position on immigration in the Brexit negotiations.
“Even if net migration was brought down to 265,000 a year the UK population would still be growing at half a million a year, every year for the next ten years. That is the equivalent to another five Birminghams.
“This is unacceptable to most of the British public.”
UKIP’s new leader Paul Nuttall said the ONS figures showed “you can’t trust the Tories to bring down immigration”.
“This is an abject failure not just by the Government in general but by the Prime Minister in particular,” he blasted.
“After six and a half years of Tory rule, we still have net migration running at more than 300,000. Another city the size of Hull added to our population. More pressure on housing, schools and the NHS.”