The British government is “flying blind” on immigration, suggests a new report from the University of Oxford, with an extra 1.25 million people having “appeared” in statistics without a reasonable explanation.
The ancient university’s Migration Observatory found that Labour Force Survey data suggested a fall in the migrant population of almost 900,000 in 2020 — but accompanied by an implausible rise in the UK-born population of some 1.25 million, according to the Telegraph.
Noting significant changes in the way the state has attempted to gather statistics as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Observatory hinted that the figures, which come out as Boris Johnson’s administration is attempting to roll out a new post-Brexit immigration system, are no longer reliable.
“We don’t know who’s arriving or leaving, who’s here, or where they are,” the Observatory said when sharing its findings on social media.
“This raises some serious challenges for post-COVID planning.”
“There is absolutely massive uncertainty about what is going on with migration at the moment, because all the data sources we normally use have been hugely disrupted,” added Migration Observatory director Madeleine Sumption in comments to the Telegraph.
“This has left us flying blind just as the UK is introducing a new immigration system, and will make it more difficult to understand the impacts of new policies,” she added.
Our latest commentary ‘Where did all the migrants go?’ explains how COVID has led to a collapse in the UK’s migration data. We don’t know who’s arriving or leaving, who’s here, or where they are. This raises some serious challenges for post-COVID planning. https://t.co/Knl0Y37HDu
— MigrationObservatory (@MigObs) February 5, 2021
Speaking to Breitbart London, the Migration Watch UK think tank agreed that the University of Oxford report “rightly points to the absence of reliable statistics because of Covid and makes some debatable, if reasonable, assumptions.”
“Fact is, the government have little idea of what is going on,” said Alp Mehmet, the chairman of the migration sceptic group.
“Despite this, and as we have pointed out, the doors have been thrown open with a weak points-based system and an open-ended offer to 5.4 million Hong Kongers to come and settle,” Mehmet accused.
While the Johnson administration has dropped the Tory pledge to cut net immigration “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands” — first made by David Cameron ahead of the 2010 general election, but never realised and, according to Cameron lieutenant George Osborne, never offered sincerely — it did commit to an overall decrease in the migrant influx, if vaguely.
That has not appeared to be on the cards in recent months, with non-EU immigration — the only type of legal immigration the government could largely control, prior to the end of the Brexit transition — rising significantly, illegal immigration by boat at record levels, and deportations down by a massive 79 per cent.
UK Deportations of Foreign Criminals Fell 79 per cent Last Year, Despite Patel’s Promises to ‘Get Tough’ https://t.co/5PazItcV8R
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 19, 2021