Net migration is continuing to rise, but this is largely explained by decreased net emigration by British citizens, rather than increased net immigration by non-British citizens.

Estimated net long-term immigration to the UK (the surplus of people immigrating over people emigrating) in the year to March 2010 was 215,000. This compares with 147,000 in the year to March 2009, an increase of around 45 per cent (but is still lower than the peaks of around 220,000 seen in 2005 and 2007). The increase in net immigration is due to a decrease in emigration (down 14 per cent) rather than any significant increase in immigration (up 2 per cent).

All this demonstrates the difficult task that the government has set itself in seeking to significantly reduce total net immigration, a statistical measure over which it has only limited control. The impact of changes in British migration (over which the government has no control at all) on total net migration demonstrates this very clearly.