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Net migration target is “futile and nonsensical” - IoD

25 Feb 2016

The Institute of Directors has attacked the net migration target and called for the Government to launch a Comprehensive Migration Review, as official statistics released this morning showed that net migration was 323,000 in the year to September 2015.

This was accounted for by a tiny increase in the number of people arriving in the UK, up 0.3 per cent to 617,000 over the last 12 months, and a drop in the number of people leaving Britain, down nine per cent to 294,000.

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“These figures show, yet again, why a net migration target makes absolutely no sense. The fact that 94% of the year-on-year increase in net migration is accounted for not by an increase in people coming here, but by a fall in the numbers leaving, shows the futility of trying to measure ‘net’ migration. It means the Government’s attempts to hit its arbitrary target are reliant not just on reducing the numbers arriving here but on increasing the number of people leaving this country as well.

“Ironically, if the UK economy tanked and Britons emigrated in large numbers it would make the target more achievable.

“That is why the IoD has repeatedly called for a Comprehensive Migration Review, based on the evidence and expert advice, to set out a plan to manage migration in a way which supports our economy, works for our businesses and addresses public concerns.

“Today’s immigration statistics will undoubtedly get caught up in the public debate about the EU referendum, yet neither the ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ campaigns are being straight with the voters. If the British people are to make an informed decision on the future of our country, then both sides in the EU debate need to set out a sensible plan for managing inward migration.”

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