Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeCulture WarA cap on migrants is our only chance

A cap on migrants is our only chance


In advance of figures due to be published tomorrow Migration Watch, the independent organisation that monitors migrant flow in and out of the UK, has today set out the dire consequences of unchecked mass migration into this country and has issued an urgent appeal to the Government to drive net immigration to below to below 100,000 a year.

Migration Watch chairman Alp Mehmet says: ‘We have seen the immense damage caused by decades of uncapped migration under successive governments. Conservative ministers abandoned the Coalition immigration cap and, as a result, totally lost control of our borders. Our country is already developing serious social strains. The only way forward is now to introduce a cap. Our message is clear: no cap, no control.’

Below we republish the Migration Watch paper which sets out  the facts loud and clear.


The latest immigration statistics will very likely confirm that the scale and pace of immigration has run out of control and that the post-Brexit immigration system must bear the bulk of the blame. The only effective way forward is now to impose a cap to ensure net migration is no more than 100,000 a year. This would have wide public support and might avoid the serious economic and social strains that are very likely to arise from the present chaos. 


Much press attention has been focused on the asylum system, which is clearly in urgent need of reform, but the current scale of net migration is about 20 times greater. Debates around the Rwanda Scheme should not be a distraction from reducing legal migration, which has been the main driver of mass migration over many years, and which will have a transformative impact on our society.

Graph 1: Net migration to the UK, 2000-2022

The economic consequences of mass migration

We now find that the nearly 8million increase in the UK population in the 20 years preceding the last census in 2021 was 84 per cent due to immigration. The latest ONS projections show a population increase of 6.6million by 2036 of which 6.1million (92 per cent) will be due to immigration. Population increase on such a scale is unprecedented in our history and will have a major impact on the economy, society, and culture of the UK. 

The impact on demand for housing and public services, especially the NHS, is already huge. Fifteen new Birminghams will be needed to accommodate immigration-driven population growth. This will mean building something like 6,700 schools, 2,600 GP surgeries and 8,000 miles of road by 2046. We will also need to build more than half a million new homes a year. 

The social impact of mass migration

The social effects of millions of arrivals from different cultures are already considerable. Recent research in the Lancet spoke of ‘staggering social change’ if the trend was to continue until 2100. Numbers matter. We find ourselves unable to assimilate migrants already here, let alone the accelerating rates of migration that are now being forecast. Challenges include multilingualism, reduced social trust and sectarian conflict. We already see this in the recent Leicester riots and the current widespread anti-Semitism at extensive protests. Research has found that 46 per cent of British Muslims sympathise with Hamas and 32 per cent want Sharia law enforced in the UK. Too many new arrivals are not assimilating into British culture or accepting British values.

Opinion polls now show that some 65 per cent of the public believe immigration is too high. As many as 52 per cent want immigration reduced. But the public are simply not aware of the scale of the problem. Most people believe that migration is 70,000 a year, which is only about one tenth of the actual level. When asked, 80 per cent of respondents want migration below 100,000 per year. They are certainly not aware that, if current levels of migration are allowed to continue, a child born today to an indigenous British couple will be in a minority in the country of his or her parents by the time they reach their forties. 


British society is founded upon the shared heritage, values, rich history, and culture of the British people. Its future stability, economic wellbeing and cohesion are dependent on manageable levels of immigration which now drive unprecedented population growth. Massive levels of immigration from disparate parts of the world, if left unchecked, will result in a fractured society and increasing tensions between different religious and cultural groups, many from conflict-ridden parts of the world. 

The way forward is a cap on overall numbers. The United States, Canada, and Australia have all used caps to control the inflow of migrants. Under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition the UK introduced its own cap on higher-skill visas (20,700 a year) for non-EU nationals. It worked. The cap was never breached and played a significant part in non-EU migration falling to its lowest levels since the 1990s.

At present there is no effective control of immigration. The system has, in effect, been deliberately delegated to employers and universities with no limit on the numbers they can bring. This has to change. The government must take back decision making and impose a cap to be determined annually. This should be set at 100,000 a year.  A cap is the simplest and most effective means of control.  In short: No cap, no control.

Annex A – Conservative Manifesto Pledges

Conservative Manifesto 2010 (p.21): ‘we will take steps to take net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands.’

Conservative Manifesto 2015 (p.29): ‘keep our ambition of delivering annual net migration in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands’.

Conservative Manifesto 2017 (p.54): ‘But with annual net migration standing at 273,000, immigration to Britain is still too high.  It is our objective to reduce immigration to sustainable levels, by which we mean annual net migration in the tens of thousands’.

Conservative Manifesto 2019 (p.20): ‘overall numbers will come down’.

Net migration for the calendar year 2022 was 745,000.

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Alp Mehmet
Alp Mehmet
Chairman of Migration Watch UK, former British diplomat.

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