3 thoughts on “Revolving doors and one-way streets: a disaggregated look at the UK’s migration figures”

  1. Posted 12/01/2015 at 12:50 | Permalink

    Well, that’s a good pussy-foot around some of the numbers. Here are the ONS immigration numbers (thousands) by citizenship and reason for migration for the year to June 2014:
    …………………..Gross……………………………………………………Net
    ………….Job…Looking…Student..Family…Total…..Job…Looking…Student..Family…Total
    British…..21……18…………9………..11………83..[..-31…….2…………..2……….-4…….-50
    EU15……45…….24………27………….7……..117..[..30……13…………23………..4……..67
    A8……….24…….23………..6………….8………74..[..17……18…………..5………..6……..44
    A2……….11…….13………..4………….4………32..[….9…….13………….3………..1……..27
    Total EU..82…….60………40………..16……..228..[..57…….44………..33……….11……142
    OCW……10………7………..2………….4………29..[….6……..0………….1…………3……..13
    NCW……16………3……….34……….21……….84..[…7…….-11………..32……….18……..49
    Other…..18……….3……….86……….29……..159..[….5……-17………..81……….25……105
    Non EU..44……..12……..121……….54……..272..[…17…..-28……….114……….46……168
    Total…..149……..97……..176……….84……..583..[..41…….24……….153………54…….260

    Job: definite job; Looking (for work); Total includes other reasons; OCW Old Commonwealth; NCW New Commonwealth.

    Footnote: of all former immigrants emigrating, just 51,000 came here as students from outside the EU, and 18,000 from inside the EU. If students emigrated at the end of their (multi year) courses, as May wishes, we would now be seeing emigration of former students in line with immigration of students roughly three years previously – or over 240,000 emigrants instead of 70,000. The difference would reduce overall net immigration to about 90,000 – dominated by those from the EU coming for work related reasons, including an alarming recent increase in those merely “looking for work”, rather than taking up jobs they have already secured.

    Students are the big immigration backdoor. We should be increasing our monitoring of them, to ensure that it is not being abused, as we know it has been. May’s proposal is eminently sensible, and indeed, how things used to be. We then get to choose the best workers to fulfil essential roles from a global pool, not merely those who managed to wangle a student visa, and we are not forced to hang on to mediocre students who manage to clear some low bar income hurdle, or who simply stay on illegally in large numbers anyway.

  2. Posted 14/01/2015 at 13:06 | Permalink

    Len, you speak of the ‘appalling school language teaching’, as a young person myself who finished his A-levels a few years ago- and did a language- I’m not sure I agree with your statement. I don’t feel its the system that’s at fault here, and we could do well to look at the picture through an economic lense: a significant proportion of the world speak/learn English, and this will be proportionately even higher in professional circles + well paid jobs etc. Its a basic question of time allocation: why would a student opt to learn a language from which they will gain limited utility in the future, compared to say Further Maths which will beef up the CV and help gain admission to a top university? The current GCSE + A-level syllabus in languages is actually pretty good in my opinion, and I don’t want to see another pointless rewriting/adjusting of it when frankly, it’s probably not broken. What WILL be interesting to see is in 30 or 40 years time when the commercial centre of gravity as shifted towards non-English countries or economic activity, and the potential utility gain from languages is much higher, will there be more British students taking up a language. I strongly suspect so.

  3. Posted 16/01/2015 at 15:43 | Permalink

    Jay, the gravity of world trade may shift, but there’s a strong path dependency here. Given that English has already become the language of international commerce, it will probably remain so, no matter what happens to the economies of the English-speaking countries. The cost of switching would simply be too high.

Comments are closed.