Progress towards immigration target is not sustainable
- Published on Thursday, 28 February 2013 12:08
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
New statistics, released today by the Office for National Statistics, show that net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) to the UK has fallen to 163,000 in the year ending June 2012, compared to 247,000 in the year ending June 2011.
Reacting to the new figures, Sarah Mulley, Associate Director at IPPR, said:
"Today's statistics show a marked decline in net migration to the UK. But the Government's progress towards its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000 by 2015 is being driven by falling numbers of international students, which will only have a short term effect on net migration. Because most students stay in the UK only for a short time, reduced immigration now will mean reduced emigration in the future, which by 2015 could partially reverse the falls we are seeing today.
"This also means that more drastic cuts to student numbers would be needed to make further progress towards the Government's target. For example, the latest research suggests that only 18% of student migrants are still in the UK after 5 years. That means that the 52,000 fall in student visas that we saw last year will only reduce net migration by just over 9000 in the medium term. Given that the Government still need to reduce net migration by 63,000 in order to meet their target, it is clear that this cannot be achieved in the medium term without radical changes that go far beyond the student visa regime."