Government Would Have to Cut Net Migration From Outside the EU by 70% to meet its Target.

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The Government would have to cut net migration from outside the EU by at least 70 per cent if it is to hit its target of cutting total net migration to the “tens of thousands” Oxford University’s Migration Observatory has said .

Data released by the Office for National Statistics shows that net migration increased to 252,000 in 2010 – its highest calendar year figure on record. This figure includes 34,000 net migration of EU nationals (including British) which the government cannot restrict. So, the entire 152,000 cuts that would be needed to hit a “tens of thousands” target would have to come from the remaining 218,000 net migration from outside the EU – a cut of 70 per cent.

The Migration Observatory published work in August this year highlighting that any rise in EU net migration – which today’s figures show have risen from -24,000 in 2008, to + 14,000 in 2009 and + 34,000 in 2010 – increases the challenge for the Government’s efforts to reach their target.

Dr Martin Ruhs, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University said: “This is not the news that the Government wanted to hear. The latest figures tell us that EU-net migration, which the Government cannot control, is increasing. This means even deeper cuts to non-EU net-migration are necessary to reach the target of the tens of thousands”.

The Migration Observatory published analysis in June looking at the complexities of reducing the various different non EU immigration categories (students, family members, labour migrants) and how likely it was that the Government would achieve it’s target for each of these groups based on the policies in place.

Dr Ruhs added: “Focussing on net migration as a single metric to demonstrate the success or failure of policy is problematic as it makes the government hostage to fortune. We have suggested in the past that looking at a suite of indicators – including for example immigration, the stock of migrants in the country, and the number of short-term migrants – would provide a better and more complete picture of how migration to the UK is changing.”

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