UK immigration target 'improbable'

18 Jun 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The government's UK immigration target is unlikely to be reached, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has remarked.

Keith Vaz, a Labour MP, stated that he is surprised that the government have "already revised their statistics and calculations".

Indeed, while the Home Secretary originally told the House that she hoped to reduce student UK visas numbers by 80,000 each year until 2015, she revised this statement on June 13th.

The new figures from the Home Office stated that the coalition's efforts to curb student UK visas will only reduce total numbers by around 46,000 annually.

Mr Vaz added: "Some could say that that is because the government have listened and recognised the importance of the student route, but I think it relates to a fundamental point made by the hon. Member for Peterborough and - dare I say it? - the chairman of Migrationwatch UK.

"We cannot discuss immigration openly, honestly and transparently unless we know what the figures are, and we do not know what the figures are, because we still do not count people in and out of this country."

The comments come ahead of the implementation of the latest round of changes to student UK visas.

From July 4th, only student migrants studying at higher educational institutions and publicly funded further education colleges will be awarded work entitlements.

Furthermore, education providers will be required to vouch that a new course represents genuine academic progression, while a streamlined application process will be introduced for low-risk nationals applying to attend courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors.