NET migration figures released by the ONS this week for the year ending September 2018 are serious cause for concern. Still running at nearly 300,000 a year, the figures showed an overall 627,000 people arriving in the year, including 85,000 Brits, 202,000 EU migrants and 340,000 non-EU migrants.
Non-EU net migration is the highest it has been since 2004, with 261,000 more non-EU migrants coming to the UK than leaving. Non-EU student immigration is at its highest level since 2011. Meanwhile EU migration is still adding to the population as a whole – despite Brexit it has by no means dried up, though it has fallen to its lowest level since 2009. A total of 57,000 more EU citizens came to the UK than left in the year ending September 2018.
Though being nowhere near its target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands, promised for years, the Government remains remarkably sanguine. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes is happy that ‘the UK was continuing to attract and retain highly skilled workers, including doctors and nurses’, while assuring us that the Government is ‘committed to controlled and sustainable migration’. However we’d be foolish to take her assurance that ‘as we leave the EU, our new immigration system will give us full control over who comes here for the first time in decades, while enabling employers to have access to the skills they need from around the world’ as meaning migration will be reduced.
Far from it, as Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, has pointed out: ‘Non-EU net migration has risen still further to more than a quarter of a million even before the government has implemented its proposals to loosen the work permit system.’
For anyone in need of further clarification as to the significance of this, Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman of Migration Watch, spelled it out in TCW before Christmas. Analysing the Government’s much-awaited post-Brexit Immigration White Paper, he concluded that if implemented it will lead to a policy that is likely to see immigration, including low-skilled workers, go up, not down.
He said: ‘The combination of the widening of the skill level, opening the route to the whole world, removal of safeguards for UK workers and abolition of the cap on highly-skilled work permits, may well be seen in the future as a very serious mistake.’
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Just two days after the publication of the latest migration figures, it was reported that record numbers of children will be missing out on their preferred secondary schools. And why is that? Quite simply because of an acute shortage of school places. This is the sixth consecutive year that demand for places has risen, a situation that is about to become even more challenging. The number of pupils in secondary schools is expected to increase by 428,000 over the next seven years, that’s on top of the extra 825,000 school places created since 2010. What are their projections for the subsequent seven years if immigration continues at this rate, I wonder.
And funny too how the MSM doesn’t connect the two stories.