Taking Back Control? Non-EU Immigration Rises to Near-record Levels

immigration
Jan Kruger/Getty Images for IPC

Non-EU immigration — the only type of immigration the Government can control — has risen to near-record levels.

Immigration from European Union member-states, as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, is almost entirely outside the British government’s control, as they are part of the Free Movement regime which the United Kingdom remains subject, despite the fact that more than three years have passed since the British people voted to leave the bloc.

But the inflow of migrants from the European Union, while still significantly higher than the number of EU migrants returning to their home countries, has fallen, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly report.

Immigration from beyond the EU, meanwhile, has increased, despite the fact the governing Conservative Party can control it — and indeed promised to significantly reduce net immigration “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands” three elections in a row.

According to the ONS report, an estimated 609,000 people moved to the United Kingdom in the year to June 2019, while 397,000 people moved away, for a net inflow of 212,000.

The net inflow from the European Union was 48,000 — down significantly since the vote to leave the EU in 2016, partly as a result of EU migrants’ uncertainty about the country’s future relationship with the EU, but largely due to improved prospects in their home countries and local currencies strengthening against the pound — while the non-EU inflow was a staggering 229,000.

Migrants coming to study made up a large proportion of the non-EU influx, with the number of Indian students surging by 63 per cent compared to the previous year, alongside a 21 per cent rise in students from the People’s Republic of China.

It should be noted that the ONS statistics on immigration were downgraded to “experimental” in August 2019, however, following research which indicated that the official statistics agency had been “systematically underestimating net migration from EU countries”.

The Migration Watch UK think tank suggested that the statistics would do little for public confidence in the Tories’ pledges on immigration — Boris Johnson has dropped the never-met “tens of thousands” target which the Tories never intended to honour, according to George Osborne, but claims he will still reduce net immigration “overall” — with “Work visas up to 190k (highest in decade), Student visas [at their] highest since 2011, Family visas up 23 per cent on the year, Asylum grants [at their] highest since 2003, [and a] 25 per cent fall in enforced returns of illegals in [the] past year”.

“With work visas now at 190,000, their highest level for more than ten years, it’s clear that [Boris Johnson’s] mooted [Australian-style] points-based system will only reduce immigration if it is suitably tough, includes a cap – as with the Australian system – and is rigorously enforced,” said Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet in a statement seen by Breitbart London.

“Without a cap the numbers would shoot up further still,” he added.

Prime Minister Johnson has refused to implement a cap.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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