New immigration system 'won't work', experts warn
Efforts by the government to curb Britain's population reaching 70 million through a new points based immigration system won't work, experts say.
By Urmee Khan
Last Updated: 9:16AM GMT 27 Dec 2008
The new policy will only reduce population growth by 2.5 per cent, according to a report by the House of Commons library, an independent research facility for MPs.
It says the new system will only reduce the estimated population growth of ten million by as little as 250,000 over the next two decades.
This will leaving the population figure still around 70,750,000 by 2031.
Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, claims the points-based system will control the numbers of non-EU migrant workers and stop the UK population, which is currently 61million, to reach the 70 million mark.
“The points based system is the biggest shake-up in immigration for 50 years,” he said last month.
Under the points based system, introduced in November, highly skilled non EU workers need 75 points to enter the UK (tier 1). Skilled workers in a 'shortage area', like a nurse, need 50 points and can only stay for duration of contract and bring partner and children (tier 2).
Those who are low skilled, do not need any points and can only stay one year (tier 3).
The House of Commons library however, has produced a detailed analysis on what the impact of the points-based system.
It found an important part of the system, tier 2, which forces migrants to prove they have skills not already available within Britain and the EU, would lead to only 10,500 fewer people entering the UK each year.
The House of Commons library said it put the number migrating to the UK under the work permit scheme at 88,000 a year.
The research paper states: “A 12 per cent reduction would be the equivalent of 10,560 individuals, leaving a net total of approximately 77,500 people entering under tier 2.”
It continues: 'On this basis, the population by 2031 may be approximately 250,000 less than current ONS estimates, meaning that the overall population of 70million would still be reached by 2031.'
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: “This proves what we have been saying, that a points system without a limit is pointless. Labour should answer our call to introduce an annual limit on non-EU immigration.”
But Mr Woolas disputed the figures.
He told the Daily Mail: “These projections are not accurate.
“The Government can use the power and flexibility of the points system to manage numbers coming here, taking into account the needs of the labour market and the country as a whole.
“The Government is also breaking the link between temporary stay in the UK and settlement, whereas these figures include all people in the country, including temporary migrants.”