Pressure is being put on the new government to slash immigration as new figures reveal that thousands of extra migrants have come into Britain under a supposed tough new points system introduced by Labour, the Telegraph reports.
The points based system was introduced under Labour to tighten and reduce record flows of immigration.
But an analysis of the first two years of operation reveal the number of foreign workers and their families allowed in to the UK grew by 20 per cent while there was a 30 per cent rise in overseas students.
Ministers had signalled the introduction of the new controls could cut the number of new migrant workers by 12 per cent.
Labour was last night accused of hiding a “guilty secret” after declining to answer parliamentary written questions on the subject in the run up to the general election.
Research of Home Office statistics by the think-tank Migrationwatch found the number of non-EU economic migrants and their dependants allowed in to the UK in 2007 was 159,535.
That was the last year before the new system came in to effect for migrant workers, under which they had to earn points, based on the issues such as education, English language ability and potential earnings, to qualify for a work permit.
But in 2009 a total of 190,640 foreign workers and dependants moved to the UK – a rise of 20 per cent.
This took place despite the deepest recession for a generation having led to unemployment of 2.5 million.
In 2008, Phil Woolas, the then immigration minister predicted “had we introduced the Points Based System (PBS) a year ago there would be 12 per cent less migratory workers in the country than there are now”.
Similarly in 2008, some 208,800 new foreign students were allowed to the study in the UK. That was the year before the relevant section of the points system applying to students was introduced.
In 2009, an extra 273,445 foreign students were given visas – a rise of 30 per cent.
In the months leading up the general election the then Government declined to answer written questions on the subject, according to Migrationwatch.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: “This is Labour’s guilty secret.
“When they talked about immigration at all before and during the election campaign, they claimed that they were getting it under control with their tough new system. The truth was quite different.
“They have left an immigration system in chaos and the coalition government with a huge mountain to climb in order to fulfil the Prime Minister’s election promise, reaffirmed on 20 May, that net immigration would be brought down from the present level of 160,000 to tens of thousands as in the 1980s and early 1990s.”
Damian Green, Immigration Minister, said: “The new coalition government will be introducing an annual limit on work permits as an important part of bringing immigration down to reasonable levels.”
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