The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that net migration to the UK hit a record high of 336,000 for the 12 months ending in June 2015. David Cameron’s government aims to get net migration down to five figures by 2020. The last time net migration fell below the 100,000 mark was 18 years ago, in 1997, coincidentally the year Conservatives lost office after 18 years.
According to the data from ONS:
- Net migration of European Union (EU) citizens showed an increase of 42,000 to 180,000;
- Net migration from countries outside the EU is also up 36,000 to 201,000;
- Two thirds of migrants had a definite job;
- Two thirds of the immigration increase is attributed to EU citizens who are mainly coming to the UK for work;
- The numbers coming to study have remained stable at 192,000.
The figures show high levels of immigration from EU countries. Britain is unable to limit these numbers under the current EU rules so it is difficult to see how the Government can make good their promise, which they first gave in 2010 when they came to power after 13 years of Labour rule. David Cameron is renegotiating with the EU to reform welfare benefits available to EU nationals to make Britain less attractive to EU migrants. The government also plans extensive reforms to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and Tier 2 visa routes. Changes to immigration rules are likely to be introduced in April 2016.
Our current view is there is no way the Government can make good on their promise, short of leaving the EU. Watch this space.