According to the Home Office, the anticipated flood of employees and students next year conflicts with the Conservatives’ promise to reduce population.
The Home Office has secretly predicted that immigration will continue to sharply increase until the next election, with an additional 1.1 million foreign workers and students expected to arrive in 2024 if ministers do nothing.
According to The Telegraph, a government report issued to Downing Street in 2017 cautioned about anticipated increases in net migration and outlined a number of policy alternatives for the Conservatives to implement in order to fulfill their 2019 manifesto commitment to reduce “overall numbers.”
In the three years leading up to 2024–2025, work and study visa applications might rise by as much as 40%, according to the 12-page estimate, with more than 700,000 international students and 320,000 skilled employees expected to arrive in that year.
It would occur as the Tories prepare for an election in which the UK’s ability to control its borders after Brexit will be a key campaign topic.
With expert predictions that net migration will grow even further to hit a record 700,000 for the year ending in December – and possibly even 997,000 when the official data are announced in two weeks – the announcement comes on top of a record 504,000 in net migration posted last summer.
Although officials have issued cautions regarding legal immigration, Rishi Sunak has named combating illegal immigration into the UK one of his top five goals.
He will convey to other world leaders at the Council of Europe on Tuesday that combating tiny boats is a global problem.
He will claim that uncontrollable pressures from illegal immigration are placed on all of the continent’s nations and that in order to combat the humanitarian catastrophe brought on by illegal immigration, they must “cooperate across borders.”
The government “must not lose sight of the importance of controlling legal migration as well,” Suella Braverman said on Monday, in addition to stopping “illegal migration.”
The Home Secretary also cautioned that identity politics and a “unexamined drive towards multiculturalism” are a prescription for disaster.
The income requirement for skilled employees, which is presently set at £26,600, is thought to be something Mrs. Braverman favors raising. She has been advocating for more regulations on legal immigration. That is 20% below the £33,280 median yearly pay in the UK.
The Cabinet is rumored to be divided on how to handle immigration, with some ministers open to an infusion of foreign workers because they think it will assist the economy and others keen to reduce the overall number.
The Net Migration Briefing August 2022 memo issued a warning that there was only a “limited window” for making adjustments since any new regulations would “take time to implement.”
It is believed that the Home Office report was created during the Tory leadership race in preparation for any new home secretary who could be appointed in September.
Despite reports that it was forwarded to Number 10, the prime minister’s spokesperson denied knowing anything about it. One insider stated, “It was before the current PM’s time.”
It outlined 12 “policy levers” that could be used to reduce net migration, such as limiting immigration channels, eliminating some specialist visa programs, raising the salary thresholds for skilled workers entering the UK, and limiting the rights of workers’ or students’ dependents to immigrate to the UK.
However, according to government sources, the only regulation that is almost ready is the one against one-year Master’s students bringing in dependents. The article foreshadows future conflicts in Whitehall about a potential crackdown.
It said: “There is strong pressure from across Whitehall to significantly increase further issuing visas to groups who are likely to add to net migration (e.g. care workers, broadband workers, some types of students).
“However, to be confident of achieving the manifesto commitment to reduce overall numbers, consideration will be needed as to whether some brakes on the usage of the [points-based system for skilled workers] are required.”
It anticipated that visas for Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Afghanistan would fall, but that applications for student visas would more than quadruple, from 300,000 in 2019–20 to 720,000 in 2024–25, and that work visas would increase from 150,000 to over 300,000.
Based on actual data that has already been published, even those numbers might be underestimates.
Immigration is under “upward pressure.”
The report acknowledged that “robust” predictions regarding net migration, which is the difference between the number of people entering and leaving the UK, could not be made. However, it predicted “upward pressure” on immigration and post-pandemic “uncertainty” regarding how many Britons would be tempted to leave the country after Brexit.
The first alternative was to “pursue actions” to minimize net migration with a “collectively agreed policy change” in order to reach that objective by 2024.
It said: “This could include capping some routes, changing thresholds (skills/salary), restricting the rights of dependants, and/or reducing the attractiveness of the graduate visa.”
In the second scenario, ministers would assert that the UK had “control” over immigration and was “making choices” to provide safe and legal pathways for refugees and to assist the labor market, universities, and healthcare system.
“A strong narrative will be required to explain the rationale, especially if the labour market begins to contract,” it warned.
Benefits and drawbacks of various policies
The paper then undertook a thorough examination of the advantages and disadvantages of various policies based on their effects on data and the overall economy.
“Research shows that factors that encourage people to move to the UK (managed migration) are: relative income differentials, networks linking destination and source countries, language skills, proximity between nations,” it said.
“While these persist, there will be strong demand for UK visas.”
Options to reduce immigration include ending the two-year graduate visa route, which allows international students to stay in the UK after receiving their first degree without working, and reintroducing the requirement that skilled workers possess a degree rather than the A-level equivalent.
The Office for National Statistics announced on Monday that immigrants are more likely than British citizens to hold degrees.
According to its study of census data, 31% of British working-age persons born in the UK had higher education credentials in 2021, which is less than one in three. This stood in stark contrast to the 44% share of people who were not born in the UK.
According to the statistics, UK residents who were born in Nigeria are more than twice as likely to hold higher academic credentials than those who were born in the UK.
SOURCE: Telegraph, Gov.uk