05 April 2011

Researchers warn Government over UK immigration approach

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Researchers at the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford have released a report highlighting what they say are gaps and limitations in the evidence behind the UK's coalition government policies on immigration.

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The University of Oxford report highlights 'gaps and limitations' in the evidence behind the government's immigration policies.

The report, which the group say has been drafted to “inform and promote a stronger evidence base for debate”, highlights ten “problems” in the evidence base for public debate and policy making.

The report suggests that the available evidence on the number of migrants in the UK can be “very imprecise” and that the evidence on which debate is held and policy is made can often be so sparse that issues as fundamental as a definition of immigration can be inconsistent, resulting in a risk that members of the public favouring fewer migrants may meet a commonly held perception of ‘immigrant’ rather than the definition as used by the Government in official statistics.

The observatory’s director and, Dr. Martin Ruhs, said: “There are many disagreements about migration in the UK, but one thing that unites everyone is that for many years there have been serious problems with the evidence base. Reform of immigration policy is currently a major Government priority, which clearly requires solid evidence on which to base changes to the system."

Despite the group’s warning about major gaps in UK Visa evidence on which to base Government policy, the UK’s coalition government is still planning to implement an upper limit 20,700 skilled workers from outside the EU coming to the UK, as it presses ahead with its agenda to cut net migration from 200,000 to tens of thousands by 2015.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their applications for British citizenship.  

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