We are an independent, voluntary, non political body which is concerned about the present scale of immigration into the UK.

Recent Briefing Papers

Economic characteristics of migrants in the UK in 2014
21st July 2015

Key labour market outcomes of migrants to the UK show wide variation, particularly in employment status, wages and benefit claims. In these terms migrants from some regions have particularly strong economic characteristics compared to those born in the UK while others have much weaker economic characteristics.

Assessments of the current and future impact of immigration to the UK often assume that there is no difference in the economic characteristics of migrants in the UK. The justification given for this is that overall the migrant population tends to be younger and thus more likely to be working. However, such assessments rarely take into account either the type of employment or the rewards of it.

Read the Full Briefing Paper

International Students and Post Study Work – Do employers need them?
25th June 2015


1. In 2011, the last full year in which students could be granted a visa that would allow them to stay on and search for work at any skill level, nearly 50,000 did so. In the first full year (2013) that international students were required to get a graduate level job in order to stay on to work only 4,100 were recruited. In 2014 the number was 5,600. This very small number who managed to get graduate employment at the average rate of graduate pay seriously undermines claims by employers that international students are “absolutely vital to the future prosperity of the UK”. Students may well have been taking low skilled work to pay off their fees but, if so, that is hardly vital; indeed, the foreign exchange benefit to the British economy will have been correspondingly reduced.

The Post Study Work Visa

2. The Post Study Work visa was first introduced in 2004 especially to allow STEM graduates to remain in the UK for one year’s work experience. Over time the visa gradually became more open and more generous. The final version, called Tier 1 (Post Study Work) was described by the independent Migration Advisory Committee as one of the most generous schemes of its kind in the world. It allowed all graduates of any discipline and any degree class to remain in the UK for up to two years in order to search for work with no restrictions on its skill level.

Read the Full Briefing Paper

Recent Press Releases

Economic characteristics of migrants in the UK
21st July 2015

Research into the economic characteristics of migrants in the UK was issued by Migration Watch UK today.

This ground breaking research shows that while, of course, individuals from all backgrounds can and do succeed economically, overall the groups with 'weaker' economic characteristics comprise nearly 5 million adults, outnumbering those with 'stronger' economic characteristics by two to one.

Read the Full Press Release

Migration Watch UK Press Comment on ONS Population Estimate
25th June 2015

The UK population grew by almost half a million people between mid 2013 and mid 2014. The majority of this increase was directly down to international migration and in addition one quarter of all births were to non-UK born mothers.

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

A population increase at this rate will only worsen the housing crisis and put still more pressure on our public services. It is vital the government realise their ambition to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.

Net migration nearly quadrupled from 48,000 in 1997 to 185,000 in 2003. Once the East Europeans had been granted free movement in 2004 it peaked at 320,000 in the year ending June 2005. Net foreign migration under Labour was 3.6 million, two thirds coming from outside the EU.

In 2013 over half a million migrants arrived in Britain, more than the total population of Bradford. In the same year 314,000 migrants left so net migration was 212,000.

We must build a new home every seven minutes for new migrants for the next 20 years or so.

England (not the UK) is the second most crowded country in Europe, after the Netherlands, excluding island and city states.

The UK population is projected to grow by over 9 million (9.4m) in just 25 years’ time, increasing from 64 million in 2013 to 73 million by 2039. Of this increase, about two thirds is projected to be due to future migrants and their children - the equivalent of the current populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Belfast and Aberdeen.

To keep the population of the UK below 70 million, net migration must be reduced to around 40,000 a year. It would then peak in mid-century at just under 70 million (about 69.7 million).

Revised July 2014

  • “One spectacular mistake in which I participated (not alone) was in lifting the transitional restrictions on the Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004. Other existing EU members, notably France and Germany, decided to stick to the general rule which prevented migrants from these new states from working until 2011. Thorough research by the Home Office suggested that the impact of this benevolence would in any event be 'relatively small, at between 5,000 and 13,000 immigrants per year up to 2010'. Events proved these forecasts worthless. Net migration reached close to a quarter of a million at its peak in 2010. Lots of red faces, mine included.”

    Jack Straw, the Labour MP for Blackburn and former Home Secretary, speaking to his local newspaper about the 2004 Accession of the A8 to Europe and Labour’s decision not to impose transitional controls on workers from these countries. The Home Office forecast that just 13,000 would move to Britain. The current population of A8 nationals in the UK is over one million. (November 2013)

  • Helen Boaden, Director, Radio and until recently Director, BBC News, accepts that when she came into her role in September 2004 there had been a problem in the BBC’s coverage of immigration. She was aware, she told us, of a “deep liberal bias” in the way that the BBC approached the topic, and specifically that press releases coming from Migration Watch were not always taken as seriously as they might have been.

    Helen Boaden’s Evidence to BBC’s Prebble Review (July 2013)

  • People didn't believe the authorities knew what they were doing and there's a very good reason for that - they didn't.

    Phil Woolas, Immigration Minister, reported in The Sun (21 October, 2008)

  • I have made this point many times before but can we please stop saying that Migration Watch forecasts are wrong. I have pointed out before that Migration Watch assumptions are often below the Government Actuarys Department high migration variant.

    An internal Home Office email they were obliged to release to MigrationWatch (29 July, 2003)

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