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Net migration increases

New statistics, released at the end of November by the Office for National Statistics, show that net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) to the UK rose to 182,000 at the end of June 2013, compared to 167,000 in June 2012.

For the year ending June 2013 503,000 people immigrated to the UK, compared to the 517,000 people who immigrated during the previous year.

It is thought that the real driver of the increase in net migration is the drop in the number of people leaving the UK, with 320,000 leaving the UK in the year ending June 2013 compared with 349,000 people leaving the UK over the same period the previous year. Emigration is now at its lowest level since 2001, according to the Office of National Statistics.

While the Government is focused on reducing the net migration figure to under 100,000, there are concerns that the figures confirm a steady decline in international students.

“With the UK’s education exports industry valued at £17.5 billion, this trend represents a significant economic blow,” said Alex Glennie, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR. “The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills aims to increase the number of international students by 15 to 20% over the next five years, but will not achieve this goal if the net migration target continues to drive policymaking.”

Alex Glennie continued: “As concern about new migration flows from Romania & Bulgaria continue to dominate the public debate, the Government’s continued focus on reducing net migration risks obscuring more important questions about how it can encourage the type of skilled immigration that the UK needs. The government needs to commit to increasing the numbers of international students.”

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