UK immigration figures slammed as ‘guesswork’

A report carried out by a group of British MPs has revealed that the UK’s immigration figures are “little better than a guess,” and says that there is no accurate information available for how many non-residents of the UK arrive and leave the country.

UK Border Control

Following an announcement two weeks ago that the number of immigrants who entered the UK between 1997 and 2010 could have been under-counted by half a million, a new report carried out by the Public Administration Select Committee says the number of migrants coming to the country is not properly measured, and warns the statistics are “not fit for purpose.”

Conservative MP Alun Cairns, who sits on the committee, told Sky News yesterday: “When we come down to measuring the absolute numbers, it’s far too blunt, the way in which they collect the data is too inaccurate and the margin for error is far too great.”

Emigrating to the UK? Get the facts >>

According to the Committee’s report, the figures are currently gathered by collecting together ‘random interviews’ of travelers at ports and airports – a measure that was initially introduced to examine tourism trends.

The MPs warn that the Government is at risk of ending up with an ‘inappropriate’ immigration policy if it bases any future policies the on the current uncertain statistics “which could be out by tens of thousands”.

The current British government has pledged to reduce immigration by tens of thousands a year – a target it had looked well on course to fulfilling, although these findings do throw some serious question marks over the validity of the latest immigration figures.