UK Immigration

Key Facts and Data for General Election 2015 (4)

Continuation of anything like current immigration levels will make the native British a minority and double the present UK population within the lifetimes of many of today’s forty-year-olds and their children.

The refugee crisis emanating from Africa (through Libya) and from the Middle East (from Turkey and Lebanon) brings renewed focus on UK immigration policy.

As a member of the EU, can Britain legally prevent refugees from Italy coming to Britain? Answer: “No”.

If Italy or other EU countries issue residency papers to refugees, they are free to travel to Britain, even if, as is clear from the TV images, many of the survivors are healthy young men bent on getting to Britain or Germany or Sweden.  These are economic migrants who have discovered a new way of breaking into Western Europe.

How many non-EU foreign immigrants with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) have settled in Britain in recent years?



Table 1: Non-EU Settlement totals for 5 year periods


Years 1995-1999 2000-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014

Five Year Totals










The total settlement over the 20 year period is 2,443,512[1].  In the ten year period 2000 to 2009 after the Labour Government abolished the primary purpose rule[2], the number of grants for ILR for family union reasons reached 1,024,000 or 70% of all grants.  Since 2010 the rules have been tightened a bit.

The ILR figure is not the same as the annual net immigration (ANI) figure usually quoted by the government because:

(a)  it excludes EEA[3] immigrants, who don’t need permission to settle in Britain;

(b)  the ANI figures don’t distinguish British from non-British flows in and out, merely estimating those coming or going for longer than 12 months[4].

What have been the net people flows into and out of Britain from all sources?

Immigrants are classed as such if they declare that they intend to stay longer than 12 months.  It therefore excludes seasonal workers from Eastern Europe, often advanced as a justification for uncontrolled EU immigration, but includes students coming for 3 year courses.

Table 2: Net Immigration

(figures in thousands in 5 year periods)



Citizenship of Immigrant

1995-1999 2010-2014













Total non-British immigration






Total British emigration





Increase of non-British over British in resident population due to immigration and/or emigration.  




If continued, what would be the effect of these flows on the make-up of the resident population?

The effect would be to swing the ethnic make-up of the British population massively against the native British population and to vastly increase the total resident population (Table 3, columns 2 and 3).

If the total non-British net inward flow were reduced from the annual average for 2010-14 of 218,000 to 20,000 per annum (the skilled maximum (Tier 1) level admitted in the same period) the effect would be absolutely dramatic as shown in Table 3 (columns 4 and 5).


Table 3: Effects of Current levels and Reduced levels of immigration[5]


Year Immigration at

218,000 net p.a.

Immigration at

20,000 net p.a.

Population (millions) Native British % Population (millions) Native British %






























Continuation of anything like current immigration levels will make the native British a minority and double the present UK population within the lifetimes of today’s forty-year-olds and their children.

What is the effect of immigration on housing?

Net foreign immigration at the 2010-2014 average of 218,000 p.a. was over twice the increase of the resident native British population.

This means, using the standard planning ratio of 2.4 people per household, an annual housing need due to net foreign immigration alone of 90,000 dwellings, compared with current building of 115,000 dwellings per annum for the whole population, British and non-British alike.

What is the effect of immigration on the UK economy?

Fact sheet 3 demonstrated the highly negative effect on British productivity (value created per employed person per year), which is now the lowest in the G7 group of industrial countries.

Tax Contributions made and Benefits received

The latest analysis[7] of this issue shows that when all payment to the state (income tax, national insurance, VAT, stamp duties, etc.) are allowed for, a gross income level of £35-38,000 per household is needed to pay for state benefits received (state education, national health, pensions, tax credits, child benefit, roads, defence, etc.)  Above this, the average household pays into the state’s coffers; below it, it takes out[8].

In the list of occupations which immigrants tend to cluster in (see Fact Sheet 3), it is unlikely, except for the small number entering through the Tier 1 (highly skilled) route, that even a two earner immigrant household will meet this level.


[1] University of Oxford Migration Observatory 11th June 2014 Annual publication.  Settlement is also known as “indefinite leave to remain” (ILR) granted/refused by the Home Office.  One third of these were from the Indian sub-continent.

[2] This enabled immigration officers to require birth certificates, evidence of longstanding relationships, etc.

[3] EEA = EU plus Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein.  These are excluded because their citizens, though foreign, required no permits or visas to settle in Britain.

[4] This is the UN definition of immigrants and emigrants – completely inappropriate for today’s conditions.

[5] This estimate allows for different birth and death rates among the native British and non-native populations.

[6] This is the year that on the assumption of continued net foreign immigration of the last 5 years – native British people would become a minority in the UK.

[7] From the Institute of Fiscal Studies, 8th February 2015.

[8] The earlier claims that immigrants “paid in” more than they took out, were based on EU flows in the 1990s (Table 2).  E.g. Home Office Paper RDS 77 (2002) and in any case were very small.

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