David Cameron is to miss his target of net migration falling to "tens of thousands", a think tank warns today.
The number of people entering the UK, after those who have left the country are accounted for, will fall to about 180,000 in 2012 from 252,000 in 2010, the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) predicts.
The figure is far higher than the Prime Minister's stated aim for net migration to be scaled back to tens of thousands by the end of the current parliament.
Matt Cavanagh, IPPR's associate director for UK migration, said that the Government's curbs on immigration were failing to reduce numbers substantially. The report says that the best hope of fulfilling the pledge was for an economic downturn to make the country less attractive to migrants and to drive away EU nationals already in the country.
Mr Cavanagh added: "By promising what it cannot deliver, the Government, far from achieving its stated aim of taking the heat out of this emotive issue, will instead feed the public's sense of disillusionment."
But Mr Cavanagh also warned that capping immigration risked stifling economic recovery when demand for more workers would pick up.
Damian Green, Immigration minister, said the IPPR prediction was "consistent with hitting our target".