December 29, 2016
Mass immigration for the foreseeable future will be inevitable if Britain remains a member of the Single Market. That is the conclusion of a paper released today by Migration Watch UK.
The paper examines the consequences of the UK remaining a full member of the Single Market which would require continued acceptance of the free movement of people. This, combined with very large wage disparities between the UK and Eastern Europe and high levels of unemployment in Southern Europe, has led to very high levels of net migration from the EU. Under free movement these levels are very likely to continue for a considerable time.
There is no sign so far that the devaluation of Sterling or Brexit have had any significant effect on the net inflow. The increase due in the minimum wage will increase the attraction of the UK and the OECD forecasts that there will be no convergence of UK and East European wages in the next 20 years.
The paper concludes, therefore, that net migration from the European Union is unlikely to fall to below 155,000 a year in the medium to long term. Non-EU net migration is currently running at 196,000. Even if it were to fall to 150,000, foreign net migration would remain at around 305,000. Subtracting net emigration of British citizens, which has averaged 55,000 in the last five years, gives total net migration of about 250,000.
The implications for our population and, indeed, our society would be hugely significant. The 2014 high migration scenario of the Office for National Statistics is based on an assumed total net migration of both EU and non-EU of 265,000 a year (below the present level). This projection results in a UK population that would grow by some 12 million by 2039, or roughly half a million a year. 75% of this increase would be due to future migrants and their children. Over 90% of population growth would occur in England.
As a rough guide such a population increase would mean building the equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham every two years. Put another way, adding 12.2 million to the UK population in just 25 years would be to increase the UK population by more than the equivalent of the entire current populations of Bulgaria and New Zealand (7.2 million and 4.6 million respectively).
At a time when the UK government is seeking to close the budget deficit it is hard to see where the money will come from to provide the additional schools, GP surgeries, hospitals and housing, not to speak of how the country’s road and rail networks will cope with such rapid growth.
For a start, the housing crisis, already having a huge impact on people’s lives, is bound to worsen. Indeed we would have to build a new home every four and a half minutes just to house new migrants and their families.
Leaving the single market would allow the UK government to control the entry of EU citizens. We have recommended that they should have visa free access unless they wish to work. Workers would have to apply for Work Permits that would be confined to those offered highly skilled work. We estimate that this would reduce net migration from the EU by about 100,000 a year and would significantly slow our population growth.
Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
This research spells out the very serious consequences for our society of net migration continuing at its present scale with membership of the the single market resulting in a relentless increase in our population. An increase of anything like 12 million in just 25 years is, quite simply, unacceptable to the British public and certainly not what they voted for in the referendum.