05 September 2011
According to the head of the home affairs select committee, MP Keith Vaz, the UK Government's insistence on counting overseas students and seasonal workers is inflating immigration figures. The inflated immigration figures are then used to justify more restrictive immigration controls These more restrictive immigration controls make it more difficult for employers to employ desperately needed skilled workers from abroad. Overall this is bad for the UK economy.,
Vaz's comments come as recent figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the number of Polish immigrants living in
the UK reached 532,000 in 2010, surpassing other groups such as immigrants from Pakistan (431,000) and from Ireland (405,000).
Vaz said the Government should stop counting east European EU workers and overseas students as immigrants to the UK, as many EU workers are seasonal and most foreign students do not settle in Britain.
"The problem for the government is that east Europeans cannot fill the skilled jobs provided for people who are coming in from the Indian subcontinent," said Vaz.
"We are keeping out the very skilled people we need to help revive our economy. If you take the student numbers out, you have achieved your immigration targets," he added.
The current UK Government has stated that it's goal is to reduce immigration into Britain to the "tens of thousands" per year. In an attempt to reduce levels of UK immigration the Government has implemented a controversial immigration cap on non-EU skilled migrants and tightened student immigration rules.