About a week ago, the ONS published the latest migration numbers for the year up to June 2011.
Here are the main points from the data release.
Long term immigration
The UK pulled in almost 593,000 migrants. This figure was 11,000 higher than in 2010. Every year since 2004, the UK has admitted around half a million new migrants.
Long term emigration
The traffic isn't going one way. Around 343,000 left the UK. This number was about 5,000 lower than 2010.
On a net basis, we gained around a quarter of a million people last year. That is a little higher than normal. A typical year, the UK gains about 230,000.
New Commonwealth immigration
Last year was a record breaker for migrants from the New Commonwealth. We gained around 170,000. (Help me out here, what exactly is the New Commonwealth?)
Why do migrants come?
Around half of all migrants cite study as the primary reason for coming to the UK.
National Insurance numbers
In the year up to September 2011, 690,000 National Insurance numbers were allocated to non-UK nationals. That represented an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year.Why we issued more NI numbers than arrivals is a bit of a mystery.
What does it mean?
It is a matter of simple arithmetic that the island of Britain is being repopulated. Large numbers of citizens are leaving, while an even larger number of non-nationals are arriving and establishing permanent residence.
Why is it happening? Personally, I can't really say. I can only offer a few disparate observations about the decline of domestically produced citizens, a rapidly ageing population and the need to import a low wage workforce that is a prepared to do tasks that unskilled locals won't touch.
I don't see any coherent strategy behind this massive influx of people. Do we need more people because we have an ageing population? If so, it would make sense to restrict migration to young people. Are we looking for highly skilled people who can contribute significantly to UK output. Then perhaps we should restrict migration to those with valuable qualifications. Or are we looking for an unskilled docile workforce that UK businesses can employ at low wage rates? If so, we should discourage anyone with qualifications. Or perhaps it is bit of everything.
I wish someone would explain the plan. Why are we importing so many people?