When UKIP talk about the reducing net migration to 50,000, or Brexit campaigners, like Priti Patel, call for drastic reduction in migration as it is ‘out of control‘ there are only two ways this can be achieved; we cut drastically the number of international students coming to the UK, therefore destroying the international education sector worth over seven billion to our economy.
Or we drastically cut those coming to the UK with skills causing a skills shortage of massive proportions in sectors like the NHS.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) Migration Statistic Quarterly Report provides a wealth of data on the inflow and outflows of migration. For the year ending 2015 net migration was 286,000. The report goes on to break down the net migration figures into the reasons for their migration.
Of the 286,000 figure 134,000, or 47 per cent of net migration, were students coming to our universities. On average since 2004, students coming to our world class universities have counted for 66 per cent of total net migration.
All parts of the Leave Campaign, including UKIP, see International Students as positive for the country and do not want this to change.
Another 78,000 people, or 28 per cent of net migration, were those coming for ‘definite jobs’, therefore filling in the skill gaps in our economy. The Leave Campaign, including UKIP, are well aware that sectors including the NHS, would collapse if these skilled workers were not recruited, and have supported an ‘Australian Style’ immigration policy to recruit these skills.
Therefore, we can assume this figure will not change if there is a Brexit.
So finally, 58,000 people of the net migration figure for 2015 were ‘looking for work’ from all around the world. The ONS figures also point to 19,000 UK citizen going to the EU ‘looking for work’ with another 24,000 British Citizens coming back to the UK without work in 2015, a sizable number from the EU.
We could unrealistically suppose that there would be no one from the EU allowed to come to the UK ‘looking for work’ after Brexit, and there would not be a massive inflow in Brits coming back from the EU without jobs after Brexit – both probable.
But even then, being very generous in our estimates, the direct effect of leaving the EU on net migration would be a net reduction of 43,000 on last year. In other words, the ‘dramatic’ effect of a Brexit would putting 15 per cent of the net migration within our control, and not necessary reduce it by that number.
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