Notice: wp_enqueue_script was called incorrectly. Scripts and styles should not be registered or enqueued until the wp_enqueue_scripts, admin_enqueue_scripts, or login_enqueue_scripts hooks. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 3.3.0.) in /home/immigration/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4138
UK net migration figures based on guesswork experts say | Immigration Matters

Want to learn more about UK/EU Immigration Law? Click Act Now to learn more... Act Now

Call Us +44 7950 458 464 |
 Categories : News


How many people are moving to, and leaving, the UK? You may be surprised to hear that “official net migration figures”, which is supposed to compare immigration to the UK and emigration from the UK, are said by some experts to be based on little more than guesswork and polling a handful of passengers, the BBC reports.

As revealed by Immigration Matters, the UK still does not have an accurate system for counting people in and out and the government do not know if people who have come to the UK on a visa are still in the country. Immigration to the UK is tougher in terms of obtaining a UK working visa or Tier 4 student visa, but these measures are seen by some as too little too late.

The all ‘singing and dancing’ e-borders scheme, which was meant to solve the ‘net migration’ question, is still a work in progress. Some fear that, despite government assurances it might stay that way.

The government, say the BBC relies on the answers given by a sample survey (rather like an election opinion poll) of travellers who are stopped and questioned by a team of social survey interviewers at Heathrow and other main air, sea and rail points of entry to the UK.

Although it has become harder for tourists, business travellers and international students to obtain a UK visa, there is no sure fire way of knowing if someone is still in the country when it expires.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and general thorn in the Government’s side, says he finds it incredible that a “supermarket loyalty scheme” can collect and store details on the shopping habits of millions of people, yet a similar database can not be set up to record arrivals and departures.

He omits to mention that the current administration inherited the shambolic system from the former Labour Government, of which he was once part resigning not long after the Hinduja brother’s passport affair.

The cornerstone of the coalition Government’s immigration policy is based on reducing net migration – the difference between the number of people entering and leaving the country.

The question is, if Britain does not count people in as they arrive, and count them out again as they depart, where exactly do the official net monthly migration figures come from?

The source is the International Passenger Survey (IPS), designed in the 1960s to find out how much foreign tourists were spending in the UK, which is still the case today.

Basically, 240 IPS officials are stationed at major airports and ports around the country.

Staff pluck out out every 30th or 40th passenger streaming through arrivals or departures and ask if they wouldn’t mind taking part in a survey.

The Office for National Statistics training manual advises: “There may be times when, owing to a particular flood of passengers, you just cannot keep an accurate count. Do not panic if this happens but keep counting as best you can.”

The UK Home Office looks at IPS data and adds information about asylum seekers and migration statistics from Northern Ireland, as well as figures for people who have entered the country on short-term visas and decided to ask to extend their stay, before arriving at a final immigration figure.

Only 0.2% of the 200 million who enter and leave the UK each year, or 300,000 people are interviewed by IPS officials.

The IPS has been considerably beefed up in the past three years, after it came in for stinging criticism from senior figures, including Bank of England governor Mervyn King, who branded it “hopelessly inadequate”.

The IPS does records how long migrants say they intend to stay in the country. Source: BBC.

International students are treated as migrants and are part of net migration figures. But a leaked memo revealed that Education Minister David Willetts wants the 250,000 non-EU students who come to Britain to be removed from the figures, as clearly students on temporary visas are immigrants to the UK. In fact, with the abolition of the Post Study Working Visa (PSW) and Tier 2 Working Visa restrictions, it is very difficult for a Tier 4 Student Visa holder to become an immigrant.

See also:

Romanian Family wins UK Immigration Appeal against Blue Card Refusal

UK overseas student market in danger of collapse after constant immigration crackdowns

EU exit will not solve immigration issue says Prime Minister Cameron


Free Movement of EU nationals explained

UK Government wants curbs on EU migration

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 or email:

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!


It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, it is important to ensure that your qualifications are recognised. In the UK there is a national agency that carries out this service, they are called UK NARIC.

Spread the Word, like or share this page, your friends will also love it and thanks for it.

Do you employ foreign workers? Don't risk a £20,000 fine and a possible custodial sentence. We can advice on Entrepreneur Visas, Investor Visas and Home Office sponsor licence compliance for your business. Use the button below to schedule an appointment...


Immigration Adviser, Speaker and Author See also: Profile - Profile:!/groups/14119859749/

One Response to “UK net migration figures based on guesswork experts say”
Read them below or add one

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked by *.

You must beLogged in to post a comment.