Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Rowntrees' pastiche of a survey: more hopeless immigration data

The latest survey of the intentions of migrants is as misleading as you might expect. The pretence is that -- albeit a much bigger proportion than previously had been thought -- only a minority of migrants intend to stay in Britain permanently, but once you look closely at the survey, the reality is that likely the majority are here to stay.

This is to be expected given that the one publicised today is by the Rowntree Foundation, which has form in recently recommending that failed asylum seekers should be allowed to work.
First, it entirely ignores the source of most settlement: those outside the EU from the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa.
Second, the problem of finding respondents massively skews the survey results. The very people who are intending to stay are the ones least likely to be easily found or to agree to an interview, or to tell the truth. This is presumably a main reason why two in every three of those first contacted had gone to ground and were lost from the survey in the follow-up just eight months later.
The skew is particularly true of this survey because it is an old one: based on interviews with migrants BEFORE their countries acceded to the EU in May 2004. Ask those in the much bigger influx post accession, who are aware of their full right to be here, and they will much more likely be coming here for keeps, and be more willing to say so. Most of those who came from places like Poland before May 2004 had come in as bogus self-employed people under the ECAA scheme (that I had revealed to be a total sham); so they had much to hide re how they had hoodwinked the immigration authorities.
The hopeless under-estimation of problems that this survey shows is indicated by a ridiculously small estimate of the totals of Poles here in Britain. When BBC Newsnight interviewed the main rep for Polish migrants in London in July last year, he told them that there were about a million of his fellow countryman then living across the UK who had arrived since May 2004 (including the ECAA so-called self-employed who had come here ahead of this date).

What was not prominent in the publicity for the Rowntree findings was that even of those who had gone home, 90% were planning to return.
This travesty of a survey points up yet again the dire need for an independent research body to provide immigration data that people can start believing.

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