While the new statistics show a continued decline in net migration to the UK, progress towards the government’s immigration target is not sustainable, IPPR has said.
Latest statistics released by the Office for National Statistics, show that net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) to the UK has fallen to 153,000 in the year ending September 2012, compared to 242,000 in the year ending September 2011.
Sarah Mulley, Associate Director at IPPR, said “the Government’s progress towards its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000 by 2015 is still in large part being driven by falling numbers of international students. This decline in international student numbers comes at considerable economic cost to the UK at a time when we can ill afford it.”
Mulley warned that “falling student numbers will not help the Government meet its target in the medium term.”
According to Mulley, this is “because most students stay in the UK only for a short time, reduced immigration now will mean reduced emigration in the future, which by 2015 could partially reverse the falls in net migration we are seeing now.”
Mulley observed that according to the latest research, only 18% of student migrants are still in the UK after five years. “That means that the 56,000 fall in student immigration in the year to September 2012 will only reduce net migration by just over 10,000 in the medium term, while the Government still needs to reduce net migration by 53,000 in order to meet its target.”