Key Facts on Immigration

Updated 9 September, 2010

1. Immigration is valuable as long as it is controlled.

2. Labour clearly lost control of our borders with net foreign immigration peaking at 350,000 in 2004.

3. The Points Based System (PBS) has not (significantly) reduced immigration.

4. The recent drop in net migration (from 233,000 in 2007 to 163,000 in 2008) was almost entirely due to a fall in immigration from East European members of the EU. It was not due to Labour's immigration policy which was much too little, much too late as many Labour supporters (and most leadership contenders) now acknowledge.

5. At present levels, immigration accounts for two thirds of the projected increase in the UK's population over the next 25 years.

6. This places severe pressure on public services and, especially, on housing; nearly 40% of projected household formation is down to immigration

7. Limits on economic migration are only part of a wider approach to getting the overall numbers down to a net figure of tens of thousands, as the government has promised.

8. We must strike a balance between ensuring that tighter restrictions on economic migration do not impede the UK's economic recovery and the need to encourage employers to train British workers for skilled jobs. It will always be easier for employers to take foreign workers "off the shelf" rather than invest in training. Clearly, a foreign worker employed is a British worker who is not being trained.

9. Students form the largest number of migrants but, if they return at the end of their courses, as they should, they do not add to net migration. Genuine students are of great benefit to Britain. They enrich our universities intellectually and also make a very important contribution to their finances. In the longer term, their experience of Britain is an important element of "soft power".

10. The problem lies in bogus students whose real intention is to work illegally in Britain and send money home. There is ample evidence both of bogus colleges in Britain and of dubious applications from abroad. Indeed, the introduction of the PBS has led to a jump of nearly 1/3rd in applications in one year. The previous government even had temporarily to suspend applications from India, Bangladesh and Nepal last December.

11. We now have one third of a million students coming to Britain every year and there are no checks on their departure. Clearly, action is needed.

12. The regulations on marriage will also need to be reviewed. There can be no impediment on genuine marriage by British citizens to foreign nationals. However, marriages arranged for the purpose of immigration are a different matter.

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