Comment by Migration Matters on latest net migration figures (28/08/14)

In response to the new immigration figures released today (28/08/14), Barbara Roche, Chair of the Migration Matters Trust commented,

“Three points are evident from the rise in net migration.

First, Nigel Farage and Ukip were wrong about Romanian and Bulgarian migration and owe Britain an apology for their reckless scaremongering last year. Farage predicted upto 29 million migrants from Romania and Bulgaria could come to the UK. Today’s government statistics show that in the first quarter of the year, the total rise in the numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, compared to last year, was just 12,000.

Second, with Britain’s economy growing more strongly than any other major European country, its little surprise that the number of Eastern Europe nationals coming to the UK to work has increased this year.

Some may raise the spectre of migrants taking jobs from British workers. But we need to be careful.

Labour Force Survey figures also tell us that unemployment in Britain is approaching a 6 year low, youth unemployment is falling and that the number of unfilled vacancies in the economy is now 656,000 – a rise of over 20% in the last year and higher than at any time since the crash.

The reality is that the employment in the British economy is expanding very rapidly and Britain’s businesses are facing skills shortages. Without migrants to help plug these gaps, businesses would struggle to grow, limiting future job opportunities for British workers and ultimately undermining the recovery.

Third, it now seems very difficult for the government to achieve its target of reducing net migration below 100,000 by the next election, certainly without severely hurting the economy.

The time has come for a broader debate on immigration policy that balances what can and cannot be achieved along-side a fuller consideration of the economic consequences of a policy based principally on cutting numbers”

Ends

Briefing: Analysis of evidence on potential migration from Bulgaria and Romania

There have been a range of predictions on the potential migration from Bulgaria and Romania when transitional controls are ended at the start of 2014. The attached briefing sets out a review of the claims, an analysis of the evidence and a projection of the likely levels of migration.