Net migration up

by Peter Wozniak

Figures released by the Home Office have indicated that net migration into the UK has increased over the last year.

Although the number of people coming into the country has fallen slightly in 2009, the number of people leaving has fallen further.

The figures, published in the Home Office’s annual Bulletin, concern migration up to the second quarter of 2010, and deliver a mixed message on the state of immigration.

While the number of people granted settlement in Britain went up by more than a third, the number of asylum applications went down by twenty-nine per cent since 2009.

An increase in student visas issued was also evident, amid debates around families and dependents settling in the UK under the pretence of studying.

Immigration was an underplayed issue in the general election but was brought to the fore by Gordon Brown’s famous ‘Bigot-gate’ gaffe.

The Conservative policy to introduce a cap for migrants arriving from outside the EU survived introduction to the coalition programme, but was opposed by the Liberal Democrats.

The figures released on Thursday will do little to bring the arguments surrounding immigration to a close, but will be held up by Labour as evidence that their points-based system was controlling levels of immigration, and as an attack on the continuing Tory push for a cap.