In view of the continuing interest in the topic of immigration I am reproducing in full below the latest report from the Minister on progress in controlling migration :
“The latest migration statistics were published today(23.5.13) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They demonstrate that we continue to make good progress on bringing immigration back under control – net migration is down by more than a third since June 2010 and is now at its lowest level for a decade.
Our reforms are creating an immigration system that is more selective and which works in our national interest. We are cutting out abuse while encouraging the brightest and best migrants to come to the UK.
• Net migration was 153,000 for the year ending September 2012 – down from 242,000 in September 2011, and a fall of 89,000. Once again, this shows that we are on the right track to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament.
• The ONS highlighted that while changes in net migration over the period 2008–10 were mainly driven by changes in people leaving the country, ‘since 2011, declining immigration has been the main cause of changes in net migration.’
• Of total immigration, 55 per cent was from nationals outside the European Economic Area (EEA), 30 per cent was from EEA nationals and 15 per cent was returning British citizens.
While continuing to bring net migration down, we are also supporting economic growth by welcoming the brightest and best to the UK:
• There was a 5 per cent increase in work visas issued for skilled individuals under Tier 2 in the year to March.
• There was a 5 per cent increase in sponsored student visa applications for the university sector – demonstrating that our reforms have deliberately favoured universities and that we continue to have a great offer for international students. There is no limit on student numbers; universities can apply their own language tests; and graduates can stay and work if they get a graduate job.
• There was an overall increase of 6 per cent in the total number of visas issued to Chinese nationals in the year to March 2013, including a 10 per cent increase in study visas issued to Chinese nationals.
Once again, these are encouraging figures – but we recognise that there is still more to do. It is still too easy for illegal immigrants to access public services to which they are not entitled and too hard for immigration officials to remove them from the UK. This is why we have announced there will be an Immigration Bill in this parliamentary session. This Bill will stop migrants abusing public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which draw illegal immigrants to the UK, and make it easier to remove people who should not be here.
Mark Harper MP”