New studies have shown that strict visa restrictions, whilst reducing overall migration levels, are increasing the number of illegal immigrants entering the United Kingdom. The study was conducted by academics at University College London (UCL), in conjunction with colleagues at the Royal Holloway and University of Birmingham, and was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Restricting the number of visas for students and highly skilled workers reduces overall migration levels, reduces much needed revenue for universities and privates education establishment, and hampers business expansion due to skill shortages, the restrictions on migration for low-skilled workers results in many of these people seeking illegal solutions to enter the United Kingdom. This suggests the numbers game is misleading and detrimental to the economy.
Particular issues have been highlighted by family migrants: new studies show that a quarter of families who would previously have chosen to move to the UK legally are now finding other, illegal ways, to relocate to the UK.
Although the strict visa restrictions on low skilled and family migration have cut total immigration figures by 21% and 32% respectively, it has also driven up illegal immigration by 14% and 24%.
Due to continuous campaigning from NHS leaders and some of her own cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has had to ease restrictions on the number of doctors and nurses that are permitted to enter the UK each year. Ministers have also had to step back from previous promises to reduce overall migration to the “tens of thousands”, and lift strict visa restrictions.
The government’s tough stance towards illegal immigration has provoked fierce criticism earlier this year, in particular following the Windrush generation scandal.
Is it not time to stop using foreign students in immigration statistics? Thereby becoming more transparent in addressing the issue. In addition, this deprives Universities of much needed funding and may increase domestic fees for domestic students.
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