Net migration into the UK is now two million every decade and probably more


August 02, 2002

With the number of migrants into the UK now running at two million every decade a leading migration think-tank has urged the Government to act with much greater urgency and resolution to tackle the chaos in the system and to restore public confidence. Net inward migration is now running at double the rate of a decade ago and the trend is relentlessly upwards.
'Our latest analysis of all the available figures shows that, even using very cautious estimates for illegal immigration we are approaching a quarter of a million migrants a year for the first time in our history,' said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationwatchUK, an independent, non political organisation which monitors migration.
'That means that a population the size of the city of Cambridge being added every six months or a population the size of Birmingham every five years.
On present patterns, two thirds will settle in London and the South-east.
'The very positive response to the launch of MigrationwatchUK is evidence of widespread public concern over the chaos in the immigration system, exacerbated by the perception that the government lacks the will to deal with it effectively,' he said.

Sir Andrew said MigrationwatchUK wholeheartedly supported Britain's record as a safe haven for genuine refugees but only about 5% of immigrants are those who have qualified as refugees. Some 50-60,000 a year are refused yet only 11,500 are removed. This destroys the credibility of the system and makes it more difficult for those with a genuine right to stay to be welcomed and accepted.

'Furthermore, the failure since the mid 90s, to record the departure of non
EU citizens is a major weakness in our immigration system. Indeed, it is almost an invitation to overstay. Against this background it is a cause of real concern that the government should have announced a huge increase in the issue of work permits with no effective safeguards against abuse of the system,' he said.

'Continued failure to get a grip of this situation will play into the hands of the far right who seek to exploit the situation for their own ends and to whom we are totally opposed.

'Immigration at this rate will have a profound effect on the nature and shape of our society for decades to come. It is therefore essential that this subject be brought out of the closet so that there can be an open debate based on the facts. At MigrationwatchUK we intend to provide the facts in their proper context and contribute to the debate,' said Sir Andrew.

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