Migration statistics aren’t about work
Today’s migration figures are understandably being seen as a further challenge to the Coalition Government’s rash pledge to bring down net immigration to under 100,000 a year. Actually immigration is falling, but less fast than emigration, so the net figure is going up (by 21% between 2009 and 2010). Work isn’t the key issue (of 575,000 people entering the country for the long-term, less than 20% were coming for work), and the work figures are further evidence of the continuing flatlining of the global economy.
During 2010, the number of people moving to the UK with a job already secured fell from its 2008 peak (ie before the recession) of 168,000 to 110,000, because there are fewer jobs on offer (and this is despite employer surveys suggesting that they are still keen to recruit migrant workers when they have jobs on offer). At the same time, people in the UK were less likely to move abroad for a job – 179,000 people did so, which is the lowest number since 2007 – suggesting that people don’t see much chance of finding a good job overseas either. It’s clearly grim everywhere.