While the Government has been focusing its policies on controlling people's access to UK visas and work permits, research has suggested that large numbers of immigrants are looking to come to the country from within the European Union.
Migration Watch UK, a think tank that tends to take a negative view on immigration in the UK, has reported that net EU migration is now likely to run at over 100,000 a year over the next five years. This puts it rather close to the net migration figure for non-EU migration, which currently stands at around 140,000.
The think tank suggested that ongoing and “substantial flows” of people moving from the EU to the UK could create tension if Britain was not given the option to control its own levels of immigration.
However, other recent reports have highlighted that it might well be in Britain's interests to encourage immigrants due to their hardworking and entrepreneurial nature. A recent report from the Centre for Entrepreneurs and DueDil found that one in seven firms in the UK was founded by immigrants and overall, immigrants are more likely to launch businesses than people born in the country.
DueDil founder and CEO Damian Kimmelman, an American, commented: “This game-changing research proves that migrant entrepreneurs are hyper-productive, net contributors to the UK economy.”
However, Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, maintained a different opinion: “The good news is that immigration from outside the EU is coming down steadily as the government have promised. The bad news is that migrants from the EU have driven the policy off course.
“It was crazy to have opened up our labour market and our benefit system to one hundred million people from countries with a standard of living less than a quarter of our own. There must now be a determined renegotiation.”