Home Affairs Committee Supplementary Memorandum By MigrationWatch

Achievements 13.5
Introduction
1. At the Committee's session on 8 July certain members raised a number of questions concerning Migrationwatch, some implying doubt about the validity of our research. They are answered below.

Structure
2. Migrationwatch is a private company limited by guarantee. The relevant details and accounts, as required by law, are available from Companies House.

3. Migrationwatch is financed by donations from the public. Unlike most organisations in this field, it receives no money from the government in any form, either directly or indirectly.

Purpose
4. Migrationwatch is an independent voluntary organisation which seeks to improve understanding of migration issues. It regards a reasonable flow of migration in both directions as a natural part of an open economy. It is, however, opposed to the present very high levels of immigration which will, on the government's own projections, add 7 million to the population of England by 2031; this is nearly 7 times the population of Birmingham

Track Record
2002: MW estimated that immigration would run at about 2 million per decade, including an allowance for illegal immigration. The official projection for legal immigration is now 1.9 million for the next decade [i].

2003: MW described the government's estimate of 13,000 immigrants from Eastern Europe as "almost worthless". It proved to be wrong by a factor of at least ten [ii].

2004: MW pointed to the government's failure to remove failed asylum seekers. This led eventually to the Prime Minister's "tipping point" pledge [iii].

2005: MW described the weaknesses in the government's economic case for immigration [iv]. All of these were confirmed by the report of the Economics Committee of the House of Lords in April 2008 [v].

2006: MW called attention to the failure to deport foreign prisoners. A year later a programme was put in place to correct this [vi].

2006: MW calculated that the impact of immigration on household formation was 33% [vii]. This was denied by many, including the Town & Country Planning Association but has now been accepted by the government [viii].

Statistics Commission
5. Migrationwatch has taken issues to the independent watchdog, the Statistics Commission, on two occasions, both were successful.

- In September 2004 the Statistics Commission agreed that the proportion of population growth due (at that time) to immigration was 85% and advised the ONS to make the position clearer [ix].

- In January 2008, the Statistics Commission agreed that, excluding British citizens, the proportion of migrants from outside the EU was 68%, not 52% as the government had claimed [x].

Home Office e-mail
6. Finally, in 2004, the Home Office were obliged by the Freedom of Information Act to release their e-mails regarding Migrationwatch. They were heavily censored but following is an e-mail from a Home Office expert to his colleagues:

"I have made this point many times before but can we please stop saying that Migrationwatch forecasts are wrong. I have pointed out before that Migrationwatch assumptions are often below the Government Actuary's Department high migration variant. (29 July 2003)"

No more needs to be said.

11 July, 2008

Notes

i MW Briefing paper 9.3 - 30 July 2002
ii MW Briefing paper 4.1 - 27 July 2003
iii MW Briefing Paper 9.14 - 5 April 2004
iv MW Briefing Paper 1.1 - 7 March 2005
v House of Lords Paper HL 82-I
vi MW Briefing Paper 10.14   2 Jan 2006
vii MW Briefing Paper 7.5 - 14 March 2006
viii Hansard Written Answers 20 June 2007 Col 1860 W
ix Letter from the Chairman of the Statistics Commission, 27 Sept 2004
x Ibid  29 Jan 2008

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