Sharp drop in immigration is due to fewer foreign students
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 28 February 2013
A sharp fall in net immigration was due largely to a drop in the number of students entering the UK, despite David Cameron’s pledge that the Government wants to attract the brightest and best young people from overseas.
Figures published today revealed that a net flow of 163,000 migrants came to Britain in the year to June 2012, down from 247,000 in the previous 12 months. The number of people coming in fell from 589,000 to 515,000, while the number leaving the country rose from 342,000 to 352,000. On a visit to India last week, Mr Cameron insisted there was no limit to the number of students from the country who would be allowed into Britain, as he answered criticism that bureaucratic visa rules are deterring young people and businessmen. But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that some 197,000 foreign students arrived in the 12-month period, down 42,000 (17 per cent) from 239,000 in the previous year, while the number of visas issued for study – 209,804 – was 20 per cent lower.
The ONS said there was a “significant” decrease in the number of immigrants arriving from New Commonwealth countries, which include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Kenya and Malawi. Some 117,000 immigrants from these nations arrived in the UK in the year to June, down 51,000 (30 per cent) from 168,000 in the previous year.
A total of 62,000 immigrants arrived from countries which joined the European Union in 2004, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, down 24,000 (27 per cent) on the previous year.
Mark Harper, the Immigration minister, said: “Our tough reforms are having an impact in all the right places – we have tightened the routes where abuse was rife and overall numbers are down as a result.” He insisted that sponsored student visa applications for the UK’s world-class universities were up, and the number of skilled people being sponsored by British employers in sectors such as IT and science also increased.
But experts dashed hopes among Conservative MPs that the sharp fall in net migration would put the party on course to achieve its 2010 election pledge to reduce the figure to less than 100,000 by 2015.
Sarah Mulley, associate director at Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank, said the Government’s progress towards its goal was being driven by falling numbers of international students and warned this will have only a short-term effect.
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Three killed at South Korean nuclear reactor days after hackers target country's atomic agency
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...