Net annual migration target now gets a deadline
- Answered by Red Square London’s Immigration Specialist, Oliver Westmoreland – Ответил наш Специалист по Иммиграционным Вопросам, Оливер Вестморлэнд
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Net annual migration figure now gets a deadline
It’s rather like the Second Coming: something that is supposed to happen one day, has often been predicted and expected, but hasn’t actually happened yet.
We refer to the Prime Minister’s aspiration to reduce annual net migration (ie the number of migrants leaving the UK subtracted from the number coming to the UK) to the “tens of thousands”. This aspiration is something that is uniquely hers: she maintained it through her years as Home Secretary in the Cameron Government and she still maintains it, despite dismal failure so far.
It appears in the Conservative Party general election manifesto and she is still apparently serious about it, despite the fact that net migration has, as an overall trend, been going up (it’s currently about 284,000).
But you cannot fault the Government for not trying hard on this. Various restrictions have been introduced over the last few years in various areas of immigration law to (a) make it more difficult for migrants to come to the UK and (b) make is easier for the Government to expel them. The problem was of course that EEA migration could not be limited or controlled.
This is the way European free movement law works – and it works in both directions, both for Europeans coming to Europe and Britons going to Europe – and as long as the UK remained in the EU there was nothing the Government could do about it.
But now that the UK is in the process of leaving the EU the situation is different. Probably the UK will leave by 2019, and then highly presumably the European free movement laws will no longer operate in the UK, and the Government will at last be able to get a grip on European migration. Or so they evidently believe, because the tens of thousands promise has now been given – albeit rather vaguely – a timescale and deadline.
In a recent campaigning speech the Prime Minister said that the Government (and assuming of course that she is re-elected) would be “working for” the tens of thousands target to be met by the end of the next Parliament – which may be in 2022.
So – and assuming that the Conservatives do form the next Government – we may have until 2022 to properly assess the Government’s performance on this.