For a long time now I’ve been questioning the government’s migration statistics. Yes, they have frequently shown mass migration at record highs. They have also revealed European Union (EU) migrants to be arriving in increasing numbers. But I think the numbers may be even higher than the ones currently publicly available.
The numbers simply haven’t added up for a while now. One of the big question marks hanging over the government’s migration statistics has been the massive discrepancy between the number of National Insurance numbers given to EU migrants and the official numbers of those who are meant to have come and are priced into the government’s top line net migration figures.
Take the figures for the year to June 2015.
A total of 214,000 National Insurance numbers were given to Romanians and Bulgarians. Yet in roughly the same time period, the year ending March 2015, official figures show only 53,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants coming to the UK. The numbers are frankly all over the place and point to a rather large underestimation of the actual numbers arriving each year.
The government’s official figures come from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) which essentially is nothing more than a questionnaire migrants are chosen at random to undertake when they land in the UK. It is then extrapolated to give us the official figures.
There are huge problems with the IPS as an accurate barometer. It is obviously nowhere near being an exact measurement given its relatively small sample size. We also know that there have been logistical problems, such as in the mid-2000’s when it wasn’t properly set-up at Luton and Stansted airports, where many migrants from new EU accession countries in Eastern Europe arrived into.
It is estimated in that instance that the IPS missed several hundred thousand migrants completely due to this logistical fudge.
The lack of accuracy with the government’s migration measurement gets worse. Only those who say that they coming to the UK for over twelve months on a permanent basis are even included in the figures.
So, an EU citizen from say Romania who came to Britain for say three months, then returned home and came back again would not be included in the migrant statistics. Given the number of seasonal workers we know are coming over to the UK, this leaves a massive gaping hole in the government’s immigration figures based on the IPS.
There are many more accurate ways that the government can measure exact levels of migration. Benefit claims and payments of tax are both records which the government possesses for migrants here in Britain. But they are refusing point black to release the figures.
Jonathan Portes, Senior Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, isn’t someone I would normally agree with on the EU or immigration. But yesterday he revealed that when he asked the government for this data, he was turned down point blank and denied access to the figures. Not because the government doesn’t have the data. Not because it would cost them anything to give it to him. But for political reasons.
That’s right: the government doesn’t want much more accurate internal figures of migrant numbers released because of David Cameron’s EU renegotiation. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) official response was that releasing these much more authentic migrant figures would be “unhelpful to the negotiation process”.
This is a complete and total cover-up from a government who have presided over record net migration levels, opened up our doors to Romania and Bulgaria on 1st January 2014 and are now flailing hopelessly in Brussels with no prospect of being able to ever control Britain’s borders inside the European Union.
Despite warnings from my party and the astute prediction from Migration Watch at the time, we have seen huge rises in EU migration including from Romania and Bulgaria.
It is bad enough that this government is now running net migration at over a third of a million every year. It is even more shameful that they seem to be covering up what could actually be the real, far higher numbers.
The government must now release the full data they have for numbers of EU migrants they have coming to the UK rather than attempting to hide their appalling record just so it’s easier for Mr. Cameron to appease Mrs. Merkel in Brussels. They have allowed EU migration to run totally out of control. They should be made to stand by their shameful record rather than be allowed to sweep the true figures under the carpet.
Nigel Farage is the leader of the UK Independence Party