The cover story of this week’s Economist claimed
that immigration was the governments “barmiest” policy which was “crippling
business and the economy”.
Analysis: These claims are wildly
exaggerated. In the last available year
(to Q2 2012) the facts are that:
transfers were slightly up to nearly 30,000.
permits were up 15% to nearly 9,000 but still less than half the cap.
visas to mid-2012 were at a similar level to those in 2008 before the new
system generated extensive abuse.
visas fell by 15% in the year to mid-2012 compared to the previous two years –
mainly due to a reduction in students.
The article makes the familiar claim that 80% of
students return home at the end of their course. In fact, they are “no longer
in the immigration system” but this is certainly not proof that they have left
On Polish immigration the leader claims that
they have contributed “far more to the public purse” and that they “claim fewer
benefits” but this cannot be known as nationality data is not recorded. Most Poles work in jobs that pay close to the
minimum wage but only workers who earn more than £25,700 per year pay net tax.
Comment: The report is riddled with errors but it is the
case that Labour’s Points Based System replaced common sense with a box ticking
bureaucracy in a failed attempt at “objective” decision making. This needs correcting.
Home Office, Before entry tables Immigration Statistics April-June 2012 vol 2,
table be.04q. URL: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q2-2012/?view=Standard&pubID=1060020
Home Office Research Report 43, The Migrant Journey, September 2010. URL: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/horr43/horr43-summary?view=Binary
Migration Advisory Committee, Paragraph 5.6,
November 2011. URL: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/workingwithus/mac/family-migration-route/family-migration-route.pdf?view=Binary