The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show non-EU net migration is at its highest for 13 years, according to Migration Watch UK, which also claims EU net migration may have been undercounted by half a million since 2004.
The ONS bulletin notes that non-EU net immigration, at +227,000, was twice the level of EU net migration at +101,000 — meaning that even if immigration from the EU was eliminated entirely, the Tories would be nowhere near achieving their 2010, 2015, and 2017 manifesto pledges to bring net immigration down to “the tens of thousands”.
With new Home Secretary Sajid Javid relaxing immigration controls, it is unlikely the target will ever be met — lending further credence to former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s claims that the Tories never seriously intended to bring immigration down.
'EU net migration continues to add to the UK population with around 100,000 more EU citizens coming to the UK than leaving.' Meanwhile, non-EU net migration is estimated to have risen by over 50,000 on the year
— Migration Watch UK (@MigrationWatch) July 16, 2018
Commenting, Chairman of Migration Watch UK Lord Green of Deddington said: “These are very disappointing figures. Migration from the EU is still adding 100,000 a year to our population and non-EU net migration is the highest level in a calendar year for 13 years. It’s time for the Government to get serious about reducing immigration instead of caving into every demand of the immigration lobby.”
Claims of a supposed ‘Brexodus’ of EU migrants from the United Kingdom since the people voted to Leave the European Union in June 2016 are common in the mainstream media, but as the ONS itself notes: “Much has been written about EU citizens leaving the UK, but the fact is there are still more people coming to the country from the EU than leaving it. In fact, the last quarter shows that around 100,000 more EU citizens are coming to the UK than leaving.”
In fact, Migration Watch believes the true figures for EU immigration could actually be far higher than the ONS figures — based on traveller surveys which some critics have derided as “little more than guesswork” — as there is a significant discrepancy between immigration estimates and population growth estimates.
Migration Watch co-chairman Alp Mehmet said the difference worked out at around 508,000 – roughly equivalent to the population of Sheffield, Britain’s fourth-largest city.
“Our paper suggests that Brexit could be an even more effective means of reducing immigration than previously thought,” he added hopefully.
“This underlines the importance of taking a firm line, so far absent, on lower-skilled migration from the EU.”