Saturday, November 04, 2006


Immigration LAST year: only an 'estimate'?!

Government deliberate misinformation about immigration continues with the ‘estimates’ for not the future but the past. It’s amazing that we have only guesses -- and very dodgy ones at that -- for what has already taken place. Yes, it’s closer to reality that guesstimates for the future, but it could hardly be more laughable than the twenty odd thousand predicted for 2004-6 of EU ‘A8’ (the newly acceded countries) nationals that turned out to be over 600,000, onthe Home Office's own admission. Well, actually it’s not far off laughable: the ONS reckon a net influx of a mere 64,000 Poles last year, yet the principal rep for Polish migrants in London says there are about a million arrivals since (and from shortly before) EU accession. That 600,000 plus figure is mostly Poles, and is generally thought to be an under-estimate.

In the absence of the embarkation controls that were lifted when Nu Labour came to office, all we have now is a bunch of market researchers at a handful of sea and air ports, who rely on the goodwill of those entering or leaving to volunteer information. This is the International Passenger Survey (IPS). I used to do survey work and I can tell you it’s a hopeless way of trying to get a representative sample. This is why the size of the ‘A8’ influx, according to these figures, bears not the slightest resemblance to other official totals.

The survey torpedoes the mantra from the Government and the IPPR that the hordes descending on us are all here to work. Only one-in-four even of those willing to talk to researchers are revealed to be here for this purpose. Even of those from Poland, not many more than half (60%) are here to work. Almost half the net inflow of non-EU migrants are from the poor nations of the ‘new Commonwealth‘; principally the Indian subcontinent. Most of these come to settle. They swell migrant enclaves not because they have work permits but through the ‘chain migration’ of ‘family reunion’ (or ‘family creation’, in the case of marriage). There is 40% unemployment amongst Bangladeshi males, which is not surprising given that recent migrants are the most affected of all sub-groups by the forcing down of wages through the arrival of still more recent large numbers of the unskilled and semi-skilled.

Of course, very many of those who told our intrepid beclip-boarded ones that they were just on a trip, were telling whoppers. Or they later changed their minds, and ’switched’ to another immigration category so as to stay longer. Of those who get visas as ’students’, there are four times as many claiming to be enrolled on a university course as the universities actually have registered. Then there are those taking part in the still more wholesale abuse of the visa system claiming to be on 15-hours-per-week English courses.

Even in this intentional mis-counting shenanigans -- that also fails to include clandestine entrants, obviously -- net inflow last year was the second largest for any year in our history (only the 2004 total was larger, and only by a little). The total coming in was close to 600,000, which minus about 400,000 Brits leaving these shores gives us a figure of roughly 200,000.

Now, 600,000 is the total of those who admit to arriving with the intention of a minimum one year stay. How many of these (plus how many of those not saying anything) have come to settle, the ONS isn’t saying. Neither is it saying how it guesstimates the proportion of those claiming to be here for a matter of just months are telling porkies.

It’s somewhat rich that the Government’s own number-crunchers (supposedly semi-independent, but, you know, so are quangos) behave like kids who can’t pass their SATS tests.

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