Immigration now 60% of population growth…


May 10, 2004

Immigration has accounted for almost two thirds of the increase in the UK population in the five years to 2002. Children born to immigrants after their arrival in the UK have not been counted as immigrants in this calculation - if they were the proportion would be higher.

An analysis by think-tank Migrationwatch of the recent detailed estimates of international migration for 2002 from the Office for National Statistics shows that net immigration in that period was 790,000 - an average of 158,000 each year.

'These statistics highlight just how large the scale of immigration into the UK has become in a few short years,' said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch. 'It has taken place without - until very recently - any discussion or explanation of the wisdom of, or rationale behind, such a large scale influx in such a short time.'

At current levels immigration will, over the next 30 years, account for 85% of UK population growth - a much higher figure than the Government claimed when they issued their population projections in December.

At that time the Government said that three million - or just over 50% - of the projected population increase in the UK between 2002 and 2031 of 5.6 million would be due to immigration.

But Migrationwatch analysis has revealed that these figures understate the real position by a significant margin and, in fact, the true proportion should be 85%.

The latest ONS figures show that gross annual immigration passed the half million mark for the first time in 2002. The figure of 512,800 was an increase of 57% on the 326,000 people who arrived in 1997. They do not include people coming on temporary work permits to fill seasonal vacancies; an unknown number of whom are anticipated will remain in this country, or of course illegal immigration.

Third-world countries and regions are the principal contributors of net immigration into the UK accounting for net immigration of approximately 187,000 people (84%) out of the net 222,000 people arriving from countries and regions which provide net immigration to the UK.

In contrast the UK is a net exporter of people to the developed world -
with a net 69,000 people moving to the rest of the EU, Australasia and North America.

Sixty percent of net immigration in 2002 was to London. Two-thirds was to London and the South-East. The remaining net immigration was to the other England regions and to Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland were countries of net international emigration.

'The increased scale of immigration over just five years has been remarkable,' said Sir Andrew. 'It has already more than doubled and we have yet to see what effect the enlargement of the EU might have.

'The Government may hope it has 'neutralised' the issue following the Prime Minister's recent speech but he completely failed to deal with the central questions of why such levels are necessary and whether they are really in Britain's best long term interests.' said Sir Andrew.

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