The Conservative wing of this government is on a quest to reduce net migration to, in
the words of David Cameron, the “tens of thousands from the hundreds of thousands”. Liberal Democrat ministers may have dragged their feet on the issue,
but there are serious doubts about whether Cameron’s policies will have any real effect. As Fraser revealed last week, the coalition is struggling to secure a substantial reduction in immigration, with
foreign born workers continuing to fill many jobs in Britain. This poses a threat to IDS’ welfare reform plans, as well as an electoral quandary for the Tories.
New migration figures for the period from 2009 to the present have been published today. Coffee House
is examining them at the moment and we’ll report in more detail shortly. But, in the meantime, here are the headline figures from the ONS:
• People migrating to the UK for a definite job is at its lowest since March 2004 at 110,000 and has been declining since a peak of 168,000 in 2008.
• Estimated total long-term immigration to the UK in the year to December 2010 was 575,000, similar to the level seen since 2004
• Emigration is at its lowest since June 2005 at 336,000.
• The number of visas issued for the purpose of study was 358,388 in the year to June 2011, a fall of 1 per cent on the 362,055 in the year to June 2010.