In November 2019 (before the most recent General Election), the Home Secretary pledged that immigration would come down as a result of planned reforms to the immigration system.
See Times article – ‘Election 2019: We will reduce migration, pledges Patel‘, November 2019.
Immigration by non-UK citizens has run at about 560,000 per year (2015-20), with the net inflow running at more than 310,000 per year.
On 24 May 2021, the Home Secretary was asked in a post-speech question and answer session at Bright Blue, whether, under the new immigration system, net migration could come down – and if so by how much – or increase?
Here was the answer:
“I’m not going to get into the language of old around immigration…. What has gone has gone in the past. I’m fixing a system and actually making it much more effective for the world that we live in and also the needs of our country and of our economy.
“I’m at the forefront of that when you think about the reforms we have brought in – the Points-Based System, ending free movement, the simplification of our immigration system. At the heart of all of this is simplification, removing the sticking plaster that have been put on the immigration system for decades, effectively since 1971.
“Simplification is crucial. We’ve already simplified 21 routes, we are simplifying 500 pages of immigration rules, we’re working with the Law Commission as well. This is not about the language of old and I’m not going to get into that at all. Of course on numbers, well I think the big news actually is, through the reform and my plans, is that we will have greater accuracy on numbers.
“We will be able to count in and count out who is in our country for the first time ever so we don’t have to work around the hypotheticals around net migration targets or numbers or things of that nature and even speculate about whether or not numbers will go up and down….
“There has been no accurate science of this whatsoever and these changes will be pivotal in supporting our economy, our workforce, the skills that we need while also placing a greater emphasis on employers skilling up our domestic workforce rather than constantly pushing outwards and looking outwards for labour supply.”
See media report.