Damian Green ‘punctures’ UKIP ‘myth’ that most immigration to the UK comes from within the EU - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Damian Green ‘punctures’ UKIP ‘myth’ that most immigration to the UK comes from within the EU

Wednesday, 8 December 2010
“Britain must regain control of her borders. This can only be done by leaving the European Union” reads the UKIP election manifesto (yes someone does read it). It is a message often repeated by UKIP supporters and party members when it comes to the sticky-issue of immigration, but I’m afraid they might need to adjust their anti-EU focus in response to an answer delivered in the House of Commons on Monday during Home Office Questions.

Responding to a supplementary question from Sheryll Murray (MP for South East Cornwall), the Conservative Immigration Minister Damian Green took the opportunity to “puncture one of the great urban myths in the immigration debate” explaining that the vast majority of immigration comes from outside the European Union.

Here is how Hansard recorded the proceeding:

Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall, Conservative): “How many migrant workers are from within the EU and how many are from elsewhere?”

Damian Green (Minister of State (Immigration), Home Office; Ashford, Conservative): "I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question, because it enables me to puncture one of the great urban myths in the immigration debate, which is that most immigration comes from within the European Union. The net migration figures - which we will get down to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament - show that the vast bulk of immigrants come from outside the European Union. She asked about the numbers. In 2009, 292,000 non-European economic area migrants entered the UK and only 109,000 left. The House will see that the vast majority of net immigration comes from outside the European Union. Such immigration is precisely what we will take action on."

He answered a selection of further questions on non-EU migration which have come as a result of the recent announcement that the number of visas issued next year will be reduced from 28,000 to 21,700.

Soon after, Mr Green launched a public consultation on the reform of Tier Four - the student entry route – and the Home Office issued a quite-simply ridiculous message to its followers on Twitter: “Contribute your views to our consultation into how we can best reduce the number of students who come to the UK”. While I agree prospective students here should be able to speak English and thus be able to integrate into society, I’m increasingly worried foreign students are being made scapegoats, but that’s another argument for another time…



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