EU immigrant impact played down

An analysis of migration figures since 1991 suggests concerns over immigrants from eastern Europe may be misplaced.

Migrationwatch points out only eight per cent of the net 2.3 million immigrants from 1991 to 2006 have come from eastern Europe.

It says most immigrants in this period have come from third world countries, suggesting the open borders within the EU are not the main reason for recent rising immigration levels.

“The reality is that those who come and stay are almost entirely from countries subject to immigration control. What we need therefore is effective control,” Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green said.

“Unfortunately, the government’s much vaunted points-based system is entirely open-ended and simply fails to address the deep public concern on this issue.”

The analysis found a small group of countries, including the US, New Zealand and Canada, saw net migration from the UK, not immigration. Nearly half a million went to Australia while 72,000 went to the 15 EU countries.