Govt UK immigration target 'unlikely to be reached'

03 Jan 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The coalition is unlikely to reach its UK immigration target for 2012, according to research from a leading think tank.

In its forecast for the year ahead, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) stated that the net migration level is likely to be 180,000 for 2012. While this is a reduction on the 252,000 seen in 2010, it is still a long way off the government target of below 100,000.

Mark Cavanagh, associate director for migration at the think tank, criticised the government for “promising what it cannot deliver”. He added: “Far from achieving its stated aim of taking the heat out of this emotive issue, [the government] will instead feed the public's sense of disillusionment.”

To tackle the issue, the IPPR suggested that the government should work to make Britain less attractive to migrants and to actively drive people away. However, there is a strong counter argument suggesting that the country is in need of immigrants with Tier 2 work permits to fill skills gaps in the economy.

Overall, the think tank predicted a ten per cent decline in the number of migrants coming to the UK from outside of the EU this year. Restrictions on UK visas for students are thought to be responsible for a large proportion of this decline, although the likelihood of a worsening economic climate tis also likely to discourage people from moving to the country.

Damian Green, UK immigration minister, observed: “The latest quarterly figures show that student visas issued are down 13 percent and the main work visas issued are down 18 percent compared to last year.”