Immigration Out of Control? Perhaps not!
Right-wing think tanks like Migration Watch UK and pseudo-racist political parties like UKIP and the BNP would have us believe that immigration is out of control and that there are too many migrant coming to the UK. Well interesting statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) look set to blow that theory out of the water.
According to the figures some 574,000 “long-term” migrants moved to the UK in 2006. However a record 385,000 people left the UK. Around half of which were foreign migrants leaving the country and the other half were UK citizens moving abroad.
This gives us a net gain from migration of 189,000 people; this represents just a 0.3% increase due to direct migration.
The actual population of the UK increased by 349,000 in 2006, this discrepancy with the migration figures is due to a number of factors. One that the right-wing think tanks would be keen to point out is that these migration figures do not include asylum seekers, indeed they do not. So let me include them for balance. There were 23,520 asylum applications during 2006 and 18,235 failed asylum seekers were deported. This means there was a net population increase of just 5,000 from genuine asylum seekers.
So of the UK population increase of 349,000, 189,000 were migrants and 5,000 were asylum seekers, so where did the other 155,000 people come from?
The answer, Britain’s fertility rate is at is highest for 26 years and the death rate continues to slow. In simple terms people are living longer and more children are being born. So almost half of Britain’s population increase during 2006 was due to natural population growth.
One other factor which the anti-immigration lobby won’t tell you is that Britain’s population actually needs to grow faster than it is presently growing!
Britain has an aging population, presently 16% of the population are over 65, according to estimates this is set to rise to 26% by 2051. Now as 65 years typically tend to be retired, so they depend on the working age population to provide them with goods and services. Now with 60% more OAPs, it’s logically follows that demands on the working population are going to increase, so naturally we are going to need more workers.
Where are these workers coming from? Well let’s not kid ourselves that our reviving birth rate is going to fill the gap, we’re still not baby booming (and nor should be less we want to worsen the problems of an aging population for future generations.) What we need are migrant workers.
These migrants will prop up our economy and help us support our aging populations, even if their net contribution to the Treasury is small (as migrants mostly take low paid jobs) they are providing the services which our aging population demands and needs.
Its time to wake up to the fact that migration isn’t something we should be against, its something we should embrace. Sure its can’t be uncontrolled, there must be checks and balances, but next time you catch yourself thinking “Bloody immigrants” remember that without migrant workers Britain will grind to a halt.
- UK sees drop in asylum seekers – The Guardian 27 February 2007
- Fertitly rate highest for 26 years – ONS 7 June 2007
- Record Number leave UK – BBC News 22 August 2007
- Population Ageing – ONS 22 August 20007
- Death Rates – ONS 22 August 20007
- See how the UK's population is changing – BBC News 26 November 2004
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