UK Undercounted EU Net Migration by Almost One Million over Past Decade

Pro-EU demonstrators rally during the People's March for Europe against Brexit in Parliament Square in central London on September 9, 2017. - Thousands joined the pro-EU march calling on politicians to "unite, rethink and reject Brexit". (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty …
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images

A report from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has estimated that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) undercounted net EU migration to the United Kingdom by an average of 93,000 per year between 2012 and 2020.

The study estimated that, in total, net migration to Britain was 15 per cent higher than previous estimates from the ONS, with many more people entering the country than initially believed.

The discrepancy between the former figures and the reality came as a result of the structural problems inherent in the previous immigration counting system — the International Passenger Survey — which was in effect until recently.

Under the old system, the government would compile an estimate of immigration based on a voluntary clipboard survey of 250,000 arrivals per year at some points of entry to the country, rather than actually counting the number of people coming in and out of the country.

Updated methods still refrain from doing an actual tally but include supposedly more reliable means of estimating numbers, such as tracking taxes and benefits.

Under the new counting system, the ONS now estimates that over the nine-year period up to March 2020, net EU immigration averaged 216,000 per year, or 76 per cent higher than previously disclosed.

According to the revised data, immigration from countries in the European Union accounted for 64 per cent of all migration, up from the 42 per cent reported by the old survey method.

Breitbart London has previously reported on the apparent faulty nature of using the IPS numbers to count migration, particularly in light of the massive discrepancy between the estimates and the number of foreign migrants being granted National Insurance numbers.

“UK migration policy for the last decade has been based on data that massively underestimated EU immigration and overestimated non-EU immigration. So, choices that affected huge numbers of people were based on incorrect assumptions,” the Migration Observatory said.

One of these government policies may have been the long-standing but never realised pledge from the Conservative Party to reduce net immigration “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands”, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now dropped.

A spokesperson for the Home Office claimed that “The British people voted to take back control of our borders and end free movement — that is exactly what this government has delivered” — although in fact both legal mass migration and illegal immigration appear to be rising, notwithstanding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the former.

Boris Johnson’s government has often touted a new points-based system as a means of “taking back control”. However, because the plan fails to introduce a hard cap on the number of migrants per year, like the Australian points-based system it is supposedly modelled on, the Migration Watch UK think tank has suggested that it could actually lead to an increase in migration, as it leaves the door open to some 660 million potential migrants.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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