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It has been clear since 2011 that net migration target was unlikely to be hit

27 Nov 2014

It has been clear for more than three years that government policies alone were not enough to hit the “tens of thousands” net migration target, the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said today.

While today’s net migration data – which show net migration standing at 260,000 the highest level in this parliament – will make uncomfortable reading for the government, it should come as no surprise. As the Migration Observatory showed in June 2011, the government’s own impact assessments made it clear that the polices introduced to reduce net migration were not expected to reduce immigration enough to hit the target by 2015.

Recent statements from the government have suggested that increased EU net migration is the reason that the target has been missed; however policies have failed to reduce net migration from outside the EU to less than 100,000 at any time over the course of this parliament, meaning that the target would have been missed with or without any rise in EU migration.

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, acting director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “The government’s own data showed in 2011 that their policies were not expected to reduce immigration by enough to hit the target. So, we have been watching a result that we have expected for three years unfold in slow motion.

“Increased EU net migration has certainly meant that the degree by which the target is missed will be much higher, but it is clear that the target would have been missed with or without this increase, as non-EU net migration alone is way over 100,000.”


For further information contact:
Rob McNeil, Head of Media and Communications, The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.
e: robert.mcneil@compas.ox.ac.uk;  Tel: 01865 274568;  Mob: 07500 970081

About the Migration Observatory

  • Based at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, the Migration Observatory provides independent, authoritative, evidence-based analysis of data on migration and migrants in the UK, to inform media, public and policy debates, and to generate high quality research on international migration and public policy issues. The Observatory’s analysis involves experts from a wide range of disciplines and departments at the University of Oxford.
  • The Migration Observatory is funded by: the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, and also receives support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
  • The Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford conducts high quality research in order to develop theory and knowledge, inform policy-making and public debate, and engage users of research within the field of migration. For further details see the COMPAS website: www.compas.ox.ac.uk/.

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