Understanding migration statistics

Discrepancies between National Insurance Numbers and International Passenger Service Statistics

At a time of heightened rhetoric surrounding migration, any suggestion that numbers are higher than officially stated inevitably attracts attention.  So the apparent discrepancies between the number of people, particularly from Eastern Europe who have obtained a National Insurance Number and the numbers estimated in the quarterly migration statistics stimulated both headlines and hand-rubbing by opponents of migration.  The Office of National Statistics was potentially red-faced and the refusal last year by the Government to grant a freedom of information request on this matter added to the speculation.

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The New Odyssey – The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis - Patrick Kingsley

The New Odyssey reads as a novel.  It is an engaging, insightful page-turner.  It is a story book with plots and sub-plots, and a menacing background of failing politics.  However, the story is not fiction.  It is a fascinating and heart-breaking description of the lives of migrants on the move in 2015. As such it is an important first-hand witness account of significant historical events.

As the year 2015 unfolded, the narrative of migration followed a helter-skelter route. Fear of the barbarian at the gate of Europe gave way to compassion.  But the twists of fate turned the debate once more to the fear of the terrorist intruder. Patrick Kingsley, the Guardian’s Migration correspondent throughout this turbulent year, spent the time accompanying real people on their journeys from war, repression and impoverishment to Europe.  It makes sobering reading.

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