Migration Watch UK - Our track record

History & Miscellaneous: MW 425

Accurate estimates of future net migration and population growth

1. Estimating future net migration is more an art than a science. However we have a long track record of widely recognised success in this area. We have also been acknowledged as ‘migration experts’ by BBC News and by the Financial Times.

2. In 2002, we estimated that non-EU net migration would run at two million over the next decade, including a small allowance for illegal immigration. At the time our projections were met with howls of derision, indeed sometimes abuse. The Independent wrote in its editorial on 6 August 2002: “Migration Watch UK is a nasty little outfit, and its duplicitous research should be treated with the gravest suspicion. The group deserves to fail.” On 7 August 2002, The Guardian described the figure as flawed. The ONS later estimated that legal non-EU net migration in the period 2002-2011 was 2.1 million. Read our 2002 paper.

3. In 2003, we described as ‘almost worthless’ estimates relied on by the Home Office that there would be between 5,000 and 13,000 arrivals annually from the EU8 countries of Eastern Europe following the 2004 EU enlargement. We said instead that 40,000 a year would be a cautious, yet more realistic, estimate. The Spectator’s Deborah Ross described our estimate as ‘unreliable’. However, in the decade after Accession, EU8 net migration has averaged 72,000 per year (including an undercount identified by the 2011 Census). As columnist Peter Oborne wrote in the Daily Telegraph in October 2014: “Sir Andrew was right and Ms Ross owes him an apology.” Read our 2003 paper.

4. In 2011, when we launched our petition ‘No to 70 million’, we were of course told that such a population rise would not happen. Now, at around current levels of net migration, the UK population is projected to rise to 70 million within ten years. Read our 2011 press release.

5. In 2013, we estimated that inflows from Romania and Bulgaria would add 50,000 a year to the population. A Channel 4 News Fact Check said: “Predictions of a mass influx of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania have failed to come true.” In fact, average net migration from those two countries in the period 2014-16 was 52,000 a year. Read our 2013 paper.

Recognition of our veracity

“[Migration Watch UK’s] record entitles it to be trusted. [Their] estimate of Romanian and Bulgarian migration has proved almost exactly correct” - Stephen Glover, Journalist and columnist, 12 October 2017.

“Migration Watch were accurate in predicting A8 movement from 2004... If someone had previously cried wolf and, on that occasion a wolf had appeared, a rational person might give more weight to their opinion” - Ed West, Columnist. 14 October 2017.

“[Migration Watch UK’s] statistics are irrefutable. Even the Home Office admitted there was no point arguing with them” - Harriet Sergeant, Author, journalist and Research Fellow for the Centre For Policy Studies, 16 November 2017.

“[Migration Watch UK] has been about the only body to tell the unvarnished truth about immigration over the past couple of decades” - Richard Littlejohn, Author, broadcaster and journalist. 17 November 2017.

15 December, 2017

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