28 September 2011

UK immigration spike driven by government policy, says research

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The UK Department for Communities and Local Government has released a research report which suggests public policy has driven a growth in immigration to the UK, not the economy.

UK visa

A new report has found that government policy accounts for a rise in UK immigration

The report, authored by James Mitchell and Rebecca Riley of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), has found that the UK and global economic situation has not been they key factor in attracting migrants to the country or an increase in immigration levels.

"This increase was not driven primarily by the economic performance of the UK or other countries. Rather, the analysis suggests that about three quarters of this increase is associated with structural change, which may be the result of changes in UK immigration policy and immigration policy in other migrant host countries," the report states.

The second most important driver in the rise in net immigration was found to be "friends and family effects".  In other words, personal ties are a key determinant in seeking a UK visa.

The vast majority of new migrants to the UK were found to be from Asia - particularly India, Pakistan and China - and the 'A8' nations that joined the European Union in 2004 or after.

While the process of EU enlargement is an example of structural change that accounts for increasing immigration, the report also clearly stipulates that government policy has played a role.

The release of the report follows comments made earlier this week by the UK Opposition Leader Ed Miliband and other leading Labour figures at the party conference in Liverpool.  Mr Miliband said the previous Labour government, in which he was a minister, "got it wrong" on immigration, particularly in regard to immigration policy on Eastern European entrants.

UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their Life in the UK test.

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