Here is a copy of a letter I have today recieved from Damian Green, which details the latest immigration figures:
I thought it would be helpful for you to have the details of the latest immigration figures, which show the real difference our tough policies are making. There has been an overall fall in net migration, and the number of visas issued is at its lowest since 2005. At the same time, we are able to support the growth of tourism in the UK.
The key points are:
Net migration is falling as our reforms take effect. It is down by 36,000 between December 2010 and December 2011, with 26,000 of this fall occurring in the last quarter. The latest figure, 216,000, shows the scale of the challenge we inherited and is still much too high, which is why we have continued to introduce policies to bring it down to the tens of thousands by 2015.
The numbers for visas issued, which are more up to date, covering a period to June 2012, show:
• Student visas down 30%
• Work visas down 7%
• Family visas down 10%.
Grants of extension to stay are down 11% in the year to June 2012, and settlement grants fell by a third over the same period.
Apart from our commitment to reduce the numbers we are also determined to make the system more selective and the evidence of our success is emerging in these figures. Despite the fall in overall work visas, skilled work visas rose 4%. There was a 3% increase in tourist visit visas, and in the vital Chinese market we saw a 28% increase in visitors. This shows that immigration control is compatible with the growth agenda.
What these latest figures show is that the reforms we have introduced across all the major routes of immigration are beginning to bear fruit. We will be relentless in pursuing these reforms.