The IPPR has predicted the fall in net migration to the UK will be shortlived.
02 January 2013
Think-tank predicts increase in net UK immigration
Just as the Government finally begins to make ground on its promise to reduce net UK immigration, left-leaning think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has predicted the trend will begin to rise once more.
The Conservative-led coalition Government made reducing net migration to the UK a priority upon assuming Parliament in 2010. Despite significant changes to UK visa and immigration legislation, net migration remained around 250,000 until late November, when figures finally began to fall.
The fall was quickly scrutinised by proponents and critics of UK immigration alike; ministers lauded the changes as finally beginning to take effect while opponents, including Conservative Party members such as Mayor of London Boris Johnson, claimed the changes were too harsh and promoted the wrong message of the UK.
Net migration currently stands at around 180,000 a year but forecasts predict the number will continue to fall over the next year to approximately 140,000. However, the IPPR have claimed this will be a temporary low before figures begin to rise again in 2014.
The majority of immigration to the UK comes from within the European Union and, as the Government is restricted from making substantial changes to EU policy, the majority of the changes have affected non-EU migrants and international students.
The IPPR, who have consistently criticised the Government for their changes, claim the Government have made all the changes they can and will soon see the trend reverse.
"Although net migration will fall next year, the Government is fast running out of options for further restricting non-EU immigration in any significant way," said Sarah Mulley, associate director of the IPPR.
"This may leave future progress against the net migration target dependent on patterns of EU migration and emigration, both of which are unpredictable and largely outside Government control.
"The net migration target is leading to bad policy decisions. It is keeping out migrants who make a significant economic contribution and are not the focus of public concerns."
The coalition Government's target of reducing net migration to the 'tens of thousands' by the time of the next General Election has been dismissed as overly-optimistic by many but Ms Mulley concedes that despite the predicted increase in net migration, conclusive figures won't be available until after the election.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.