New Net Migration Statistics Released
New net migration statistics were released by the Office for National Statistics this week, and make for divisive reading. In all, 630,000 people entered the UK over the 12 months to December, with people leaving the country running at 297,000 – meaning a net migration figure of +330,000.
To give some perspective, this is the second highest ever level of net migration, and is 109,000 more than in the 2013 calendar year.
Naturally these figures are hastily muscling their way into the centre stage of the Brexit debate. ‘Leave’ campaigners claim the figures are evidence of Britain’s inability to control its borders, and argue the number is far too high. Remain campaigners see the figures as an encouraging sign the economy is on the mend – simply making Britain a more desirable place to live.
What would ‘Brexit’ Mean for Immigration?
It’s very easy to assume that the UK leaving the European Union will automatically result in lower rates of immigration. Whilst logic suggests that, yes, it ought to come down a bit, red tape might just disagree with you.
Many people don’t realise this, but there’s more to Europe’s laws and customs than the European Union. There is also a European Economic Area ‘EEA’, which includes all EU states, plus some European countries that aren’t actually in the EU, like Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Leave campaigners argue we can break away from the European Union and get a favourable trade deal to effectively keep our stall at the market. This would almost certainly involve discussions with the EEA, and guess what: to join up you have to also agree to Freedom of Movement. One nation, Switzerland, isn’t a member of the EEA but still participates in the internal market. Guess what they had to accept to gain this privilege?
Freedom of Movement.
Reprieve for Scottish-speaking Lachlan
If you’re like us, you may have been following the recent media coverage of the situation 7-year-old Lachlan Brain finds himself in in Dingwall, Scotland. Lachlan is Australian by birth, but is of Scottish ancestry, speaks Highland Gaelic as his mother tongue and has lived in Scotland for 5 of his 7 years.
Lachlan’s mother moved to Scotland on a study visa from Australia 5 years ago as part of the Highland Homecoming Program, which aimed to re-populate the Scottish Highlands. Unfortunately, the government have since scrapped the Post-Study Work Visa, which is what the family were banking on to remain in the country after the expiration of the study visa.
As a result, Lachlan’s family have faced removal from the UK despite their extremely heavy ties and integration into the community.
In desperation, the family reached out to local MP Ian Blackford, and the media attention has snowballed ever since. George Osborne caused quite the uproar this week when confronted on the case by SNP heavyweight Angus Robertson, appearing to know little or nothing of the case. Theresa May also failed to cover herself in glory, smirking through the exchange.
Fortunately, as a result of this attention, immigration minister James Brokenshire has now stated that the family are no longer in any ‘imminent risk of immediate deportation’. The case continues, with MP Ian Blackford confident the Brains will ultimately be given leave to remain under exceptional circumstances.