New research confirms the government’s net migration target is unsustainable

Arbitrary targets to reduce migration are unlikely to work, argues Sarah Mulley of the Institute for Public Policy Research.

This week saw the publication of two important pieces of analysis of the UK’s migration system, both of which are significant for the government’s much-vaunted net migration target.

The first report, published by the home office, traces the progress of migrants through the immigration system in order to measure how many people in different immigration categories remain in the UK after 5 years, or settle permanently.

For all the talk of an immigration system in crisis, the results of the study show outcomes broadly consistent with policy.

A high proportion of those entering on routes designed to allow permanent settlement remain legally in the UK after 5 years or achieve permanent settlement in this time:

61% of those who entered the UK on family visas in 2006 had achieved permanent settlement 5 years later, with an additional 5% having on-going leave to remain.

29% of those who entered the UK on skilled worker visas in 2006 had achieved permanent settlement 5 years later, with an additional 11% having on-going leave to remain.

In contrast, only a small proportion of those entering on routes not designed to lead to settlement remain legally in the UK after 5 years or achieve permanent settlement in this time:

Only 2% of those who entered the UK on temporary work visas in 2006 had achieved permanent settlement 5 years later, with an additional 7% having on-going leave to remain.

Only 1% of those who entered the UK on student visas in 2006 had achieved permanent settlement 5 years later, with an additional 17% having on-going leave to remain.

While the study cannot tell us anything about those who stay in the UK after their visas expire, it does suggest that, broadly speaking, the system is delivering what it is designed to do. (This is not to deny the serious problems of administration which continue to plague UKBA).

More importantly though, this study is a reminder of how difficult the government is going to find it to reduce net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) in a sustainable way.

Because a large proportion of migration to the UK is temporary, very large cuts to immigration are needed to achieve even modest reductions in net migration.

For example, if only 18% of student migrants are still in the UK after 5 years, the government needs to issue 5556 fewer student visas in order to reduce net migration by 1000.

If only 40% of skilled workers are still in the UK after 5 years, then the government needs to issue 2500 fewer skilled worker visas in order to reduce net migration by 1000.

Consider that the latest figures show net migration of 183,000 as compared to a target of less than 100,000 and it becomes apparent that drastic cuts to non-EU migration would be needed for the government’s target to be sustained.

The government can achieve short term reductions in net migration by cutting immigration now, which might be enough for ministers to claim success in a general election campaign, but the effects on net migration will be short-lived, and the economic consequences serious.

The second report, published today by the independent Migration Advisory Council (MAC), points to a more sustainable way to reduce migration in the longer term.

The report recommends that more jobs be removed from the ‘shortage list’ that allows some employers easier access to skilled workers from overseas.

The MAC are clear that it is long-term investment in training and workforce development that has reduced the number of jobs in the UK suffering systemic skill shortages.

Changes to the shortage list are insignificant in terms of overall migration flows, but the message of the MAC report should be taken to heart by government and policymakers.

Migration patterns sometimes show up wider economic challenges (skills shortages, poor quality jobs) – an arbitrary target to reduce net migration will do nothing to tackle them, so policymakers must look elsewhere for long-term answers.

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75 Responses to “New research confirms the government’s net migration target is unsustainable”

  1. Mick

    Nobody mentioned hate except you.

    And on the wider immigration debate, it never made much sense bringing in so many people, so many the demographics will be decisively altered within a century.

    Simply, we’re told we always need more incomers to ‘save’ the NHS and everything. This at a time when unemployment has shot up again and jobs have been exported overseas by the binful. We’ve got a housing crisis too, with everything else in shorter supply with more mouths to feed. Stuff we would have had an easier time with with a steadier population and cut immigration.

    We can’t pay for all these people to get old. So, we’re told, we should bring in EVEN MORE. Unlimited immigration is a nation-killer, just as any overdose.

  2. Mick

    Nobody called for genocide. And yes, demographics IS an issue.

    Leaving colour out of it, isn’t it sad when ANYBODY is displaced by others? Reading history books, I always thought it a pity when tribes attacked across Europe and Asia.

    Though, as we know, the Left can have a HUGE colour bar against whites, in the name of some kind of vengeance. (‘Hideously white’, yeah, right!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWJ-961jclo

  3. Newsbot9

    You’re mixing up myself and you again, I see.

  4. Newsbot9

    Nope, the killer is killers, the violent right. I call you hate hate, because it’s hate. Keep on claiming that isolation and xenophobia are the answers.

    You’re conflating all types of problem into your murderous strategy, housing (plain short), economics (Tory death cycle), etc.

  5. Newsbot9

    Yes, there was a clear call for genocide there. To purge the non-whites. Many of whom have nowhere to go, Britain being their country. SO the only way you’ll get anywhere is the violence the far right routinely resort to.

    And no, your attempted murder of everyone not “White British” is far, far more than sad. And yes, your type of barbarian is a real problem.

    You keep on trying to label not being massively bigoted as a conspiracy against you. Keep up with the propaganda youtube links, to try and justify your genocidal calls.

Comments are closed.