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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Net migration increases for first time in two years

Government fails to reduce net migration.

New statistics, released today 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, but this rise is not statistically significant. In the year ending June 2013 503,000 people immigrated to the UK, compared to the 517,000 people who immigrated during the previous year.

Reacting to the new figures, Alex Glennie, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR, said:

"Today's statistics are bad news for the Government because they have gone backwards on their target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000 by 2015. Net migration has risen for the first time in two years, driven in large part by a fall in the numbers leaving the UK.

"But they are also bad news for Britain because they confirm the steady decline in the number of international students. With the UK's education exports industry valued at £17.5 billion, this trend represents a significant economic blow. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills aims to increase the number of international students by 15 to 20 per cent over the next five years, but will not achieve this goal if the net migration target continues to drive policymaking.

"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."

Notes to Editors:

Today's ONS figures are available here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration1/migration-statistics-quarterly-report/november-2013/index.html

IPPR's new report 'Britain wants you! Why the UK should commit to increasing international student numbers' is available here: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/11534/britain-wants-you-why-the-uk-should-commit-to-increasing-international-student-numbers

IPPR's 2012/13 Migration Review is available at: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/10111/migration-review-201213