World Population Trends Likely to Increase UK Immigration Levels Still Further

August 12, 2009

Even larger immigration flows into the UK than we are currently experiencing will, as a result of world population trends, be almost inevitable unless there is decisive Government action to restrict numbers, says a report out today.

The UK population is already forecast to rise to 77m by 2050 – from its current 60 million – largely as a result of immigration. This will have huge implications for housing, health, education and the quality of life.

But the burgeoning populations of developing countries around the world are likely to put even more pressure on UK borders in the future.

The paper from think tank Migrationwatch examines the latest UN population projections from the perspective of immigration policy. It finds that the balance of population between different regions of the world will change sharply. Almost all the increase in world population will be in the less developed countries - especially among the poorest of the poor.

The effect will be particularly sharp in some countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Congo and Somalia which, by mid-century, are likely to have about three times their present population.

On a regional scale, Asia accounts for the major increase, particularly as it includes India, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Five countries account for nearly half of the visa applications to the UK - China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Russian Federation; the first four of these are expected to see a population increase of about one third by mid-century.

Meanwhile, the current top ten source countries for asylum seekers are expected to see a population increase of 26%.

By contrast, the population of the ten new East European members is expected to decline by 2060 - by 8% in the case of the Czech Republic ranging to 28% in Bulgaria.

Said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch, said: ‘All the focus in recent years has been on East Europeans but those numbers are expected to come into balance before very long. Looking ahead, the real problems for immigration control will come from the developing world as this paper illustrates.

‘It is obvious that many of the countries with the highest projected birth rates also have the lowest income per capita so coming to the UK and similar European countries will be seen as an extremely attractive option which large numbers can be expected to take.

‘Immigration is already a highly emotive issue. An opinion poll recently commissioned by the all-party Balanced Migration group showed that 7 out of 10 adults want immigration cut by over 80%’, he said.

‘It is no longer good enough for politicians to sweep this issue under the carpet and try to pretend that it’s not a suitable subject for debate because, as our paper shows, things are likely to get more difficult in the future.

‘It can only further undermine trust in politicians if they continue to ignore the very real concerns widely felt across the country,’ he said.

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