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

Press Article

Labour still doesn’t grasp public anger at immigration

By Sir Andrew Green
Chairman of Migration Watch UK
The Times, 11 April 2014 

Yvette Cooper’s speech on immigration yesterday illustrates the huge gap between the public and politicians. The shadow home secretary’s remarks amounted to an elegant camouflage for Labour’s absence of policy on the key issues. The central issue is not whether immigration is good or bad, but what is a desirable scale — given that 77 per cent of the public want it reduced, 50 per cent “by a lot”.

Read the full article

Press Releases

Migration Watch UK Press Comment on the Revised Net Migration Statistics released by the ONS
10th April 2014

The ONS has today revised the net migration figures between 2001 and 2011, in light of the undercounting of immigration during that period, discovered as a result of the 2011 Census. Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

“This is final confirmation that net foreign immigration under Labour totalled nearly 4 million, two thirds from outside the European Union. It also shows that the peak of net migration was almost 275,000 a year, making it even more difficult for the present government to get the numbers down to the tens of thousands.”

Migration Watch UK Press Comment on Yvette Cooper's Immigration Speech
10th April 2014

Commenting on Yvette Cooper’s speech, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

“This speech is elegant camouflage for the absence of any real policy on the central issue of scale. Net foreign immigration under the last Labour government totalled nearly four million, two thirds from outside the European Union. Yvette Cooper now says she wants to see a lower level of migration but cannot say what that level is and won't set a target. Until Labour set a clear objective for their immigration policy the public will simply not believe them.”

Nick Clegg “lost” half a million migrants in the EU debate
10th April 2014

In the recent debate on membership of the European Union Nick Clegg under-estimated the increase in the EU population of the UK by about ½ million – roughly the population of the city of Liverpool. It seems that he was unaware that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have admitted that their estimates of the number of East European migrants were significantly wrong. This is borne out by the Annual Population Survey (see here).

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK said “It is extraordinary that the Deputy Prime Minister could lose half a million immigrants in this way. He kept stressing the importance of facts and then got his own completely wrong, while accusing those who get them right of “scaremongering”. On a matter of such widespread public concern it is very disappointing that the Deputy Prime Minster should get his facts so seriously wrong.”

Over half a million EU migrants expected in the next 5 years – that is more than the population of Manchester
2nd April 2014

The recent increase in migration from the EU is likely to continue into the medium term throwing the government’s immigration policy off course and creating tension between the UK’s continued membership of the EU and control of our borders. That is the conclusion of a paper issued today by Migration Watch UK.

The paper, the first estimate of its kind, finds that net EU migration is now likely to run at over 100,000, perhaps 130,000 a year over the medium term. The latter is roughly the population of Manchester every four years. Meanwhile, the government’s policy has brought non EU migration down significantly from 217,000 a year to 140,000 and further falls could be achieved, especially if firm steps are taken to ensure that non EU students leave at the end of their studies. However, allowing for British emigration that has averaged 70,000 a year for many years, the resultant overall net migration is likely to be of the order of 160-200,000 a year. Immigration on such a scale would add around five million of the eight million that would be the projected increase to the population of the UK in 20 years.

One possible approach would be to negotiate with our EU partners a closure of the benefit system until a migrant had contributed for five years. The report points out that workers from Eastern Europe are on low wages which are subsidised by the British tax payer in the form of tax credits and housing benefit. As a result, a single worker from Romania or Bulgaria working on the minimum wage in the UK would earn four and a half times what he or she would earn at home. A worker with a dependant spouse and two children would earn almost nine times as much as at home. Without these in work benefits, a single worker would still be three times better off and a family two and a half times.

Such a renegotiation would be hard to achieve and would still not eliminate the incentives for workers to come from countries with a much lower standard of living. If substantial flows were to continue, there would be growing tension between continued membership of the EU and our ability to control the level of immigration.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said “The good news is that immigration from outside the EU is coming down steadily as the government have promised. The bad news is that migrants from the EU have driven the policy off course. It was crazy to have opened up our labour market and our benefit system to one hundred million people from countries with a standard of living less than a quarter of our own. There must now be a determined renegotiation”.

Read the Full Press Release

Immigrants have cost the tax payer over £140 billion since 1995
13th March, 2014

Recent immigrants from 2001 to 2011 might have cost over £25 bn

Migration Watch UK today issued a new assessment of the cost of immigration to the tax payer. The outcome is that immigrants cost the taxpayer over £140 billion or more than £22 million a day over the 17 years 1995 – 2011.

The Migration Watch study followed the methodology of a recent paper from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) but queried some very unrealistic assumptions. Even on their own assumptions, CReAM had calculated that the overall effect of immigration since 1995 has been a net cost of £95 billion. This result was contained in a table annexed to their paper but it was not even mentioned in the text of the report, still less in the summary or the press release – a truly astonishing omission.

CReAM also claimed a net benefit of £25 billion from recent migrants which they described as “a very sizeable fiscal contribution”. However, analysis by Migration Watch finds that the true figure is more likely to be a net cost of that amount.

Read the Full Press Release


Net migration quintupled from 50,000 in 1997 to 250,000 in 2010. Nearly 4 million immigrants have arrived since 1997. Net migration fell to 176,000 in the year to December 2012 as government policies took effect.

A migrant arrives almost every minute but they leave at only just over half that rate.

We must build a new home every seven minutes for new migrants.

England is already, with the Netherlands, the most crowded country in Europe, excluding island and city states.

The population of the UK will grow by over 7 million to 70 million in the next 15 years, 5 million due to immigration - that is the equivalent of the current populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Oxford.

To keep the population of the UK, now 62.3 million, below 70 million, net immigration must be reduced to around 40,000 a year. It would then peak in mid-century at about 68 million.

Revised September 2013

  • “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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