Mind the gap: The immigration figures behind Brexit
By Stephen Slater, Senior Caseworker and In-House Advocate at OTS Solicitors
When I read that the UK net migration figure in 2018 was just over 268,000 people, I wondered how the statistics would be presented to the populace by the media and politicians. I have a special interest in the Immigration statistics as my work at OTS Solicitors involves advocacy in Immigration tribunal and judicial review cases. All the best London immigration solicitors will tell you that when it comes to Immigration, advocacy presentation is key, and I think the same applies to the UK net migration statistics.
Reading on with the article on UK net migration figures, I discovered that if net migration continues at about 268,000 people a year, that will mean that the UK population will grow by the size of Newcastle each year. To put that into context for Londoners, that is an annual population growth equivalent to an extra London borough of Hounslow every year. My first thought was “where would we put them all”? Then, like many of the best London immigration solicitors, I sat back and thought through the figures.
Once I had done that, I realised that I agreed with a Mark Twain quote, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable”. A breakdown of the statistics shows that:
• The UK population rose to 66 million in mid-2017;
• The latest UK population growth rate is 0.6 per cent, the slowest growth rate for fourteen years. This is down to due to a fall in net migration, fewer births and more deaths than in previous years;
• The net migration figure of 268,000 people takes into account the migration of British citizens. 49,000 more British citizens left the UK than returned in the year to the end of June 2018;
• Migration from EU countries to the UK has fallen from 190,000 people per year prior to the Brexit referendum to about 57,000 people in 2018. That means seventy five percent of the decrease in net migration is down to the fall in EU citizens coming to the UK;
• Whilst migration from EU countries has reduced since Brexit, migration from non-EU countries has increased;
• The proportion of the population aged sixty-five or over reached eighteen per cent in mid-2017, that equates to nearly twelve million people;
• The birth rate is falling. In the latest available figures, the annual births amounted to nearly 775,000, the lowest rate since 2006.
After I had looked at the facts, extracting them from the statistics, it came as a revelation that with a falling birth rate and an ageing population the key question may not be my first thought of where a migrant population the size of Hounslow might be fitted. The key question is: can migrants increase the size of the working age population and, if so, when could they start work to help the UK economy cover the costs of its aging population?
How can OTS Solicitors help?
With Brexit and Immigration figures being talked about daily by politicians and the media, London and the UK can feel like an increasing hostile environment for migrants. That is why if you need to make an Immigration application, an Asylum claim or to challenge a Home Office decision, you need the best London immigration solicitors at your side.
OTS specialist London immigration solicitors not only know all the statistics behind the latest Immigration figures and Home Office policy developments, they are also committed and tenacious advocates on your behalf so your Asylum application or Home Office challenge has the best chance of success.
OTS Solicitors specialise in all aspects of personal and business immigration law and I have particular expertise in:
• Asylum and humanitarian protection claims; and
• Applications for Administrative Review; and
• Representation in cases before the Upper Tribunal either on appeal from the First tier or judicial review proceedings. The judicial review proceedings relate to suspensive appeals, unlawful detention and retrospective application of delegated legislation;and
• Detention and bail applications; and
• Deportation cases; and
• Representation at appeals at the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunals.
Please call me on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to me or to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help you.
Brexit and EU migration
It is tempting to say that the fall in the number of EU migrants coming to the UK in the last three years is all down to the referendum. Many politicians have attributed the fall in EU migrant numbers to the referendum vote making EU citizens feel unwelcome in the UK or uncertain over their long-term future in the UK because of the delay in sorting out a Brexit deal. However, statisticians and top London immigration solicitors would say that the answer is rather more complicated than that.
A good and accurate source of information is the Migration Observatory, based at the University of Oxford, who independently analyse Immigration data and even provide research and evidence on the breakdown of migrants from individual EU and non-EU countries. The director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University said that the increase in EU citizens leaving the UK and the fall in EU citizens coming to the UK may not be so much to do with their perception of their welcome in the UK but down to:
• The lower value of the pound making the UK a less attractive place to live and work ;
• Economic conditions in several of the top countries of origin for EU migrants improving;
• Better rates of pay in other EU countries making those countries more attractive to migrants.
Brexit, London and EU migration
The top London immigration solicitors will tell you that when it comes to migration figures it is important to look at the statistics by region and city. That is because some regions and cities are more affected by migration figures and statistics than others are.
Take London as an example. If you think that the London population is nearly nine million, an annual net migration figure of 263,000 people spread across the entire country does not sound like too many people to accommodate, even if migration is skewed towards the London capital.
It may also surprise some people to hear that London is not as densely populated, as many of us believe it to be. Prior to my pouring over statistics I would have said that London probably ranked in the top thirty most densely populated cities in the world. It does not. Depending on whose statistics, the top London immigration solicitors use, London ranks between the forty-second and fifty-third most densely populated city.
The best London immigration solicitors would tell you that density of population does not necessarily equate to high levels of poverty or Immigration concerns. After all the most densely populated country is Monaco. We do not see media stories on overcrowding and migration to Monaco as its population density is seen as a hallmark of wealth and prosperity and its ability to attract the high net worth.
Immigration and the demographic time bomb
It is startling to think that each year nearly 775,000 people arrive in the country, unable to speak English, needing state and National Health Service assistance and without even clothes on their backs. I am not talking about Asylum seekers or refugees but the countries birth statistics.
To even the best London immigration solicitors that figure of new arrivals seems shockingly high. However, in the same period there were about 525,000 deaths registered. What many politicians do not talk about is the demographic time bomb of a falling birth rate, ageing population and the squeezed and reducing middle of working age people paying taxes to support the children or those drawing a state pension and requiring greater access to National Health Service resources.
Statisticians have said that between 2000 and 2050, the number of people over the age of sixty-five will double and the number of over eighty-fives will quadruple. The top London immigration solicitors understand that the working population would need to double in order to maintain the ratio at its current level and avoid a demographic time bomb.
The best London immigration solicitors know that many home truths are rather unpalatable and it is often easier to blame a newcomer for a countries woe rather than analyse the statistics and face the uncomfortable facts.
Take the case of Asylum seekers, in the main they are of working population age and keen to make their mark in UK society. Under Immigration Rules, the majority of Asylum seekers are not permitted to work. They survive on little more than five pounds a day. To many in London that is the price of a large daily cappuccino. However a recent report, prepared from research carried out by the Lift the Ban coalition, has calculated that if Asylum seekers were allowed to work then the government could expect to receive about forty two million in tax, national insurance and reductions in financial support for Asylum seekers.
The change in policy to allow Asylum seekers to work might not only be good for the individual Asylum seeker left in penury and limbo whilst awaiting a Home Office decision on their Asylum claim but for the UK economy. A change in direction on Asylum seekers may go some way towards “minding the gap” between an ageing population and a squeezed working age population, alleviating the problems created by a falling birth rate, low unEmployment figures and falling EU migration figures.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
For information on any aspect of personal Immigration law, Immigration and Asylum applications, British Citizenship, naturalisation, and Brexit options including applying for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or challenging Home Office decisions please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.