The Government has the ability to control a much larger percentage of immigrants coming to the UK than it claims.
This has emerged after think tank Migrationwatch asked the independent Statistics Commission to look at Government claims that 52% of immigrants are from outside the EU whereas Migrationwatch say the figure was 68%.
After reviewing the figures the Statistics Commission has agreed that the Migrationwatch figure is the more accurate.
Migrationwatch numbers were arrived at by looking at net migration of foreign nationals (the difference between the number of foreign nationals migrating to the UK and emigrating from the UK). The Government arrive at their 52% figure by including migration of British citizens which Migrationwatch say are not relevant to the debate about where immigrants come from.
The Statistics Commission makes the point that, for control of immigration purposes, it may be better to consider in-migration only. On this basis, even if returning British citizens are included, the Statistics Commission confirms that non-EU citizens make up the majority (58%) of immigrants to the UK.
‘This is highly significant in practical terms,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman. The Government has no control over who comes from EU states, but it could reduce the numbers from non-EU countries. We can understand that they want to play down the numbers of non-EU immigrants because, if they are made to appear relatively unimportant, it lets them off the hook of taking effective action. They further compound matters by refusing any discussion on immigration issues as the House debates the details of the new EU’ Treaty. ’ Not a single line on this subject will be debated.
‘But none of this will fool the public of whom 80% want to see immigration sharply reduced. These figures prove that more than two thirds of immigrants come from outside the EU and show that there could be a substantial reduction if the Government had the will to do it,’ said Sir Andrew.
See the full exchange of letters between Migrationwatch and the Statistics Commission.