By Alp Mehmet
Chairman of Migration Watch UK
The Sun, 23 November, 2023
The latest figures have revealed net migration of 672,000
In 2010, 2015, and 2017 we were promised net migration in the tens, not hundreds, of thousands.
We were conned. The latest figures for the year ending June 2023 have revealed net migration of 672,000.
Or certainly that is what we are led to believe by the Office for National Statistics. But we now know even the ONS can get this wrong.
At the same time as revealing this new figure, they also tell us that the previous record net migration figure for 2022 of 606,000 has been revised to 745,000.
This mega-error in itself brutally reveals a betrayal of the promise to “take back control” and cut immigration.
It is difficult not to see this latest eye-watering spike in immigration as anything other than deliberate.
We at Migration Watch UK warned that the loose points-based system — which awards points based on things such as education, skills and English language ability — would lead to more immigration, not less.
That is precisely what has happened.
Key changes, such as abolishing the cap on higher-skilled workers and lowering the salary and qualification thresholds, have opened the floodgates to lower-skilled, cheaper migration.
Employers are effectively in control, with no limit to the number of foreign workers they can import.
Meanwhile, universities, by and large, decide how many overseas students can come here — again, with no limit set or requirement that students leave on completion of their studies.
Indeed, they can all stay for a further two years and take any job, or even not work at all. Many of these new arrivals can legally bring their dependents.
The consequences of this unchecked immigration are enormous.
If the current scale of influx continues, Britain’s population could sky-rocket to 85million by 2046, a rise equivalent to 18 new cities the size of Birmingham.
Such growth would exert intolerable pressure on land, housing, transportation and public infrastructure.
Crunching local authority data from Birmingham City Council and multiplying it by 18 gives a snapshot of the impending chaos if migration is not checked.
High immigration is making the UK’s housing crisis impossible, flooding the market with demand when there’s already a shortage of places to live.
This drives prices to new stratospheric levels. Government analysis says that soaring immigration since the late 1990s has raised house prices by a fifth.
Lower immigration would give young people a fighting chance of buying a home, and we’d save more of our beautiful countryside for the next generation.
The purported economic benefits of immigration — often hailed as over- whelmingly positive — crumble under scrutiny.
A larger workforce will certainly make the economy bigger, but it will not raise living standards unless it makes GDP (the quantity of goods and services) grow more rapidly than the labour force.
What matters to the existing population is not GDP for its own sake, but GDP per head.
Our GDP has in fact flatlined for the past ten years, during a period when we have had runaway immigration.
And the notion that immigrants alleviate the pension problem is debunked by the ageing process.
Immigrants, too, will grow old, and their arrival does not offer a sustainable solution to the “dependency ratio” — the current ratio between people of working age and the retired.
Of course, claims are frequently made that immigrants bring valuable skills and contribute to heightened productivity, particularly when they secure well-paid positions in high-demand fields such as technology, finance, law and medicine.
However, advocates of open borders tend to focus solely on this skilled professional category.
Research by Migration Watch UK has found that nearly 60 per cent of all foreign workers in the UK — totalling just over three million people — are employed in jobs not considered as requiring high skills.
This includes jobs such as chefs, butchers, fishmongers and poultry dressers.
Allowing businesses to import skills that British workers could easily do reduces employers’ incentives to train and elevate the skills of the domestic workforce.
The outcome is the proliferation of enterprises characterised by low wages, low productivity and requiring low skill levels.
The presence of immigrants in low and semi-skilled professions may benefit private companies employing cheaper labour but adversely affects our own lower-paid and more vulnerable workers.
The Government’s lax approach to visa distribution, symbolised by a jaw-dropping number of visas handed out like candy for work and studies in particular, underscores the failure of the points system.
The Government’s migration policies have collapsed. The gates were intentionally thrown wide open and they are not about to be closed.
This Government is either incapable of shutting them — or simply does not want to.