Net Migration Levels up by 38%
Latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics reveal net migration levels have gone up by more than 38% in the past year.
Net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 243,000 in the year ending March 2014, a significant increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months. 560,000 people came to the UK, up from 492,000, with two thirds of the increase accounted for by immigration of EU citizens. Significantly, 28,000 EU2 (Romanian and Bulgarian) citizens immigrated to the UK in the past year, compared with only 12,000 in the previous 12 months. Restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens working in the UK were lifted with effect from 1 January 2014.
The Oxford Migration Observatory said the figures made it "effectively impossible for the government to achieve its target by the end of this Parliament without radical measures".
Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire acknowledged that the increase of migration inside the EU makes target hitting “challenging” but David Cameron has declared that his target of reducing net migration below 100,000 could still be achieved.
In light of these comments we fear that the government may soon make some drastic changes to try reduce the net migration figure. This could be by cutting the restricted certificates of sponsorship cap by half from 20,700 to 10,350; or perhaps limiting the options for students to switch in-country by removing the Resident Labour Market Test exemption. Whatever route the government takes it is likely to affect businesses looking to hire non EEA national skilled workers in the UK as it tightens the proverbial immigration belt to restrict numbers. We will of course keep you updated.
If you or your business has any concerns about this issue, please contact a member or our business immigration team.
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