It’s now clear: UKIP and the Tories were wrong about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration

We are likely to see more migration from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, but not the large numbers we saw in 2004 and certainly not the millions predicted by UKIP.

We are likely to see more migration from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, but not the large numbers we saw in 2004 and certainly not the millions predicted by UKIP

Last night on Channel Four news, David Cameron repeated his party’s manifesto commitment that this government will reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ by the next election. While net migration is fairly steady, today’s immigration statistics show how far the government is from achieving its target.

When mainstream politicians make unachievable promises, then fail to deliver, this tends to reduce political trust, particularly on high profile issues such as immigration. This risks pushing the electorate into the arms of UKIP populists. But today’s statistics also discredit Nigel Farage, in that the anticipated flood of Bulgarians and Romanians has failed to materialise.

The net migration statistics are drawn from the International Passenger Survey, which has quite large boundaries of error. It shows that long-term net migration (immigration minus emigration) was 212,000 in 2013, up from 177,000 in the previous year, although this is not a statistically significant increase.

The government has a long way to go if it is to reach its target. In 2013 an estimated 526,000 people immigrated into the UK, of whom nearly half (201,000) were from the European Union.

Also released today were statistics on new National Insurance number registrations. Put alongside last week’s labour market statistics, they provide a more complete picture of EU migration.

In the year to March 2014 new National Insurance number registrations from nationals of EU member states are up by 14 per cent compared with the previous year. There were 46,890 new registrations from Romania in the year to March 2014 and 17,750 from Bulgarian nationals. Both National Insurance numbers and the labour market statistics show that the arrival of Romanians and Bulgarians has been steady over the last year. The predicted January 2014 flood has not materialised.

There has been a small drop in family migration from outside the EU, as well as in the numbers applying for permanent settlement. Work visa migration is up by 10 per cent, mostly as a consequence of a small increase in the numbers of entrepreneurs and investors and in Tier 2 migrants coming to vacant jobs that cannot be filled by UK residents.

Asylum applications are up very slightly, but this is mostly accounted by an increased number of Syrian and Eritrean arrivals. But numbers are small and there were just 23,731 asylum applications in the year to March 2014, far lower than in the early years of this century.

Today’s statistics highlight the inadequacies of both the Conservatives and UKIP on immigration. In the absence of any other social policy, UKIP only message has been about EU migration – leave the EU if you want control of your borders. The Conservatives have reiterated their unachievable net migration target and made policy proposals that are largely symbolic.

On Channel Four News Cameron talked about the need clamp down on EU benefit tourism. Over the last six months there have announcements about restricting job-seekers allowance to EU migrants, with no EU migrant able to claim this benefit for more than a six months unless they can prove that they have a genuine prospect of employment.

Yet few migrants from the new member states of the EU claim benefits – most come here to work. Additionally both EU Treaty regulations and existing Department for Work and Pension regulations already make it difficult for EU migrants to benefits in the UK. The 2004 Treaty on freedom of movement means that new migrants forfeit their European Economic Area (EEA) worker status – which gives them freedom of movement – if they lose their job.

Essentially, a new migrant must be in employment in the UK to secure EEA worker status. Already any protracted period of unemployment of an EEA national who does not have settlement rights in the UK is likely to disqualify that person from benefits and rights of residency in the UK. The rash of announcements on benefits is pure dog whistling: symbolic statements to deal with non-existent problems.

In the short and medium-term EU migration is likely to remain at present levels. We are likely to see more migration from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, but not the large numbers we saw in 2004 and certainly not the millions predicted by UKIP. Mainstream political parties need to acknowledge this and not make false promises about things they cannot control. The emphasis of policy should be on making migration work for all communities and for everyone who lives in the UK.

Jill Rutter is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Her book on integration and social cohesion will be published by Policy Press in 2015

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87 Responses to “It’s now clear: UKIP and the Tories were wrong about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration”

  1. Kryten2k35

    Yeah, I said those words, eh? Surely, common sense doesn’t prevail, and you only restrict access to the UK to someone convicted of offences that are illegal in the UK, not their mother country. And we should definitely make sure it’s for minor stuff like traffic offenses. That absolutely makes the most sense.

  2. Kryten2k35

    Oh, I read it, I just couldn’t be arsed to respond. You’re a stupid cunt, and you’re just here to troll, and I shan’t feed you.

  3. Landscape

    Uk population density 679 per sq mile. Canada 9.23, Australia 7.91.
    Thats the major difference. We have more than ten times the people per square mile. This country, governments for 20 years have been happy to take the economic benefits of immigration, but consistently failed to invest in infrastructure to address the population growth over and above the nominal uk birth rate. Immigration has doubled the population growth in this country and put millions £ in the pockets of a select few at the top while putting pressure on ordinary services for ordinary people.
    Perhaps you should try looking at ALL the statistics before you start waffling on about one small item.
    You might also look at the immigrants Canada and Australia take. Most are highly skilled and have jobs lined up before they go. They have to pass a points test and a check on their criminal history. Neither country will let you immigrate there if you have even a basic criminal past. Here, we let in all the dregs of society, whether they have a job or not. Whether they are hardened criminals or not.
    It’s quality this country needs from immigration. Not quantity. Common sense escapes you I see.

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    So you’re ignoring the massive uninhabitable areas in Canada and Australia, of course. Urban population density is similar. Those facts, those facts!

    There has, indeed, been a failure to invest and a massive issue in not building enough houses for 34 years. But that is not a reason to smash the economy so investment *can’t* be made.

    The UK’s points-based check for non-EU migrants is turning away six-figure earners who would be key to companies, losing us a lot of jobs. Thanks for highlighting the less-stringent tests of Canada and Australia! And of course neither exclude you, as the far right here call for, for jaywalking or homosexuality convictions.

    And no, I do indeed want you to leave, to go back to your home country and stop trying to change the UK for the worse. Self-described dregs like you can claim unemployment benefits at home, Sheesh.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Exactly – common sense does not have any place in the dogma of the far right. The call is for *blanket* prohibition.

    “Common sense” is not something which you can use as a defence in the law. This stuff needs to be spelled out.

    (And traffic offences are, of course, offences here…so…)

  6. Kryten2k35

    Dunno where you live, but I live in Bradford, where we have a lot of immigrants living here. I have no problem with them, I know a few. They’re good people. However, there are a few dicks slipping through the nets. Convicted rapists, who rape against once they’re here, and we have to spend money to deport them, or incarcerate them. These are the people that a) make people lose faith, and b) need stopping at borders and turning around.

    And I was using common sense for this post, I didn’t expect it would be taken to the letter and enacted as law. I’m pretty sure if anything near my ideas were to be put into place, they’d be exact… However this is an internet website, not Parliament.

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    Look at the *statistics* for immigrants and crime. It’s very easy to whip up a frenzy if you seek them out.

    And if people propose laws, I’ll take what they say, generally…

  8. Kryten2k35

    17% of the Bradford district are migrants, I’d say it was way, way higher if you include only the town centre and immediate areas. Either way, like I said, immigration isn’t a problem.

    And, you need to stop taking everything literally.

  9. Leedsian

    The UK is full to bursting point, let’s have half a million more come in, what’s the problem ?
    Next year, another 300,000 come in, what’s the problem with that ukip ?
    Year after, another 300,000 in, what’s the problem ukip ? Why are even more people voting ukip ? Why are normal, ordinary labour supporters voting ukip ?
    Why are normal , everyday Tories voting ukip ? Why are Liberals voting ukip ?
    How come this party is unifying the country, left, right, and centre, all the non-political ordinary voting public coming together and supporting ukip ?
    Yes, quietly unifying the country, the normal voting population is laughing at all the racist, bigoted, slurs that the olds parties are scraping up, (all eagerly megaphoned by the media, especially the BBC) and we’re all laughing, and they can’t see it. They think it will stem the ukip tide
    They don’t get it. The country is full up.
    Let’s have another 300,000 in say the three main parties, another city the size of Bradford, that will help won’t it ? That will get the average voter out to support LibLabCon won’t it ?
    See, they just don’t get it.
    Ha Hahahaha roll on General Election…..

  10. Crankcase08

    While I sympathise with your position with regard to these spotty left wing students who haven’t got a clue, regarding the NHS I refer you to this from Paul Nuttall’s personal website:

    Unfortunately, the UKIP leadership appears to be conning its members and supporters, and is clearly being promoted by the controlled mainstream media to squeeze the far more honest nationalism of the BNP off the scene.

  11. Crankcase08

    Ashkenazi Jews are not Semitic.

  12. Leon Wolfeson

    That’s right, you spring to the defence of your ally, spouting revisionist Jewhate propaganda.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah, your Hateland nationalism, as you deliver more hate for the UK and spew about media conspiracies. And no, you’re not a left winger, spotty student crank.

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    …If someone says they believe in something, I believe them.

  15. Crankcase08

    Jewhate? So you are ashamed of where your descendants came from? That looks more like self-loathing by you.

  16. Crankcase08

    Your powers of comprehension are really poor, as exemplified by most of your comments. What I just posted was not “hate” for the UK, but demonstrating that the UKIP leadership speaks with a forked tongue on the NHS. Furthermore, I never claimed to be a left winger, nor a spotty student. I used to be a political left winger before I grew up, though occasionally a right-winger on the football pitch.

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    Keep making up lies about why your hate really isn’t hate because of

    That the UKIP are far too left for you is telling, and your lies about once being a left winger is transparent – I quite believe you were (and quite likely are) a football hooligan though.

    Still showing yourself to be a liar by not stopping posting I see.

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    No surprise you can’t read English – try ESOL lessons. And you have vision problems? Well, stop smashing your head into walls then.

    That you can’t even come up with a good excuse…

  19. Crankcase08

    Auf Wiedersehen.

  20. Leon Wolfeson

    Run along now, running dog.

  21. Gordon BrownArse

    The EU is a total bag of shite, no argument , end of, !!

  22. Leon Wolfsontwat

    Leon, show us your left buttock!!

  23. Leon Wolfeson

    Hi Lawrence, still trolling me I see.

  24. Leon Wolfeson

    You changed your posting user name to “Alexander British” I see.

  25. Jimmy

    Oh no, UCrap never mentioned the Bulgarians and Romanians. Millions of them, pouring in and mugging us,

  26. Jimmy

    Why does it always have to be about race with you righties. You’ll be telling me next that Farage hasn’t stirred up hatred against Romanians.

  27. Jimmy

    Ever heard of the Health and Social Care .bill, and great swathes of the NHS being put out to tender…

    Oh and Ukip want to further privatise the NHS according to their deputy leader.

    You should be better informed before posting here.

  28. Linzi

    We can all paint a rosy picture of immigration BUT bottom line is how long will immigrants stay in jobs we supposedly do not like doing

    Do you honestly think it is good reasoning long term

    The British want their country back , immigration needs more control and don” t you dare try to justify mass immigration because most do not want it

    The British people on the whole are not stupid!

  29. Landscape

    The countries you mention have massive land mass un inhabited. They have more space for food and services. You’re appreciation of stats is skewed to say the least. What do you mean by ‘per capita’? immigration as a % of the indigenous population? Canada and Australia are 5 times the area with less than half the population.

  30. Landscape

    No, I’m ignoring the massive uninhabitable parts of the UK. Of course urban density is similar as people tend to live in towns and cities. The point is, Canada and Australia have loads of room for people, the UK doesn’t. We have very limited land to expand in to. We can’t build homes on flood plains, mountain tops marshland, then of course 80% of the land is used for agriculture which we need for food. I guess you’re one of those fools who think we can build on every square inch of land. I

  31. Leon Wolfeson

    So you’re using non-comparables, check, as you admit urban density is similar but still saying the UK magically can’t have non-closed borders.

    And no, I’m not you, but thanks for that.

  32. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh yea, those amazing tundras, deserts and mountains, as you get it wrong.

    And you don’t understand per-capita, no surprise, as you once more wilfully ignore…

  33. Landscape

    Ignore what? That in your world everyone would have the right to go anywhere? Yep, I would fully support that if the world was a balanced place, It isn’t.

  34. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah yes, so because you’re unbalanced, you need to stop the 99% from travelling. What a surprise.

  35. Landscape

    I make, what I consider a realistic comment. ‘To allow total free movement of all people around a world full of so many different cultures, and economies and religions would cause chaos’. It’s a great dream and yes maybe humanity will get there one day, and all you can do is insult me? I suspect it is you who needs a little balance in your life.

  36. Guest

    Keep trying to throw me out the UK, “balance” man.

    Your hatred of all other cultures, religions and econmoni systems is your issue, as you put your unbalanced foot in your mouth again in the thread you dug up to attack in.

  37. Landscape

    Oh you sad little person. When the world is full of lovely people, where there is no greed or lust for power, when there is no bitterness, so evident in yourself, then let the world be free. Until then, let the world and it’s people grow slowly, with baby steps and then, maybe, just maybe, the utopia you desire so much it corrupts your dream, when people with your anger no longer walk the world, then we can have peace.
    Good bye to you sir, I will waste no more time on you.

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