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An article published by the Daily Mail’s Home Affairs Editor, Ian Drury, claims that non-EU migrants are handed UK residence permits at a rate of one every 36 seconds, despite Britain having no permit system. According to figures released by Eurostat, UK immigration officials approved 865,894 applications for a residence permit made by non-EU nationals in 2016.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment
What does the Daily Mail mean by UK residence permits anyway? it just seems to be highly exaggerated anti-immigration propaganda. Since Brexit there has been a significant reduction in “net migration” to the UK. In fact many would say that the UK net migration figures, much lower than the figures used by the Daily Mail, also over state levels of immigration as they include those on Tier 4 student visas most of whom will not stay in the UK in the long term.
For non-EU citizens it is difficult, bureaucratic and expensive to obtain UK visas. The tier 2 visa work visa scheme is one example of this. The employer has to obtain a tier 2 sponsorship licence, typically needs to complete the resident labour market test, obtain a certificate of sponsorship and then eventually apply for a tier 2 visa. In addition, the UK has amongst the highest Government visa fees in the World. It seems unlikely that there would be a sudden increase in long term immigration into the UK.
Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch UK has also made some comments about this. it has to be said that Migration Watch UK does not have a good reputation when it comes to accuracy. The Daily Mail should issue an apology for misleading people about the Eurostat figures.
Eurostat’s data shows that the UK granted a quarter of all residence permits issued across Europe and the most of any one nation on the continent. The number of permits awarded represents a rise of 52 per cent, up from the total of 570,000 recorded in 2015.
A previous survey calculated that UK net migration numbers had hit 246,000 in the year to March, with the government targeting a reduction in this figure to below 100,000 – a goal backed by Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Vice chairman of MigrationWatch UK, Alp Mehmet, said: “Assuming that a good many people remain in the UK indefinitely, Eurostat’s figures are another damning indication of the levels of migration that are taking place. This is why we have the pressure we do on public services.”
Other people make misleading remarks about UK visa numbers
According to Mehmet, the result of unsustainable migration to the UK is an increased demand for homes and school places, while the country’s infrastructure is also put under greater strain.
Conservative member of the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, Tim Loughton, said: “The government needs to start getting a grip on UK immigration numbers. The UK remains a very attractive place for people from outside the EU to come, but given the scale of the numbers, we need to make doubly sure that the right people are coming to the country with the right skills.”
Daily Mail misleading claim that Britain tops “residence permit” table
Ranking ahead of second-placed Poland, which awarded 586,000 residence permits, Britain tops Eurostat’s ‘residence permits league table.’ Germany occupied third place with 505,000 permits issued, while France took fourth spot with 235,000 residence permits recorded, according to Eurostat.
The UK was by far the most popular destination for non-EU citizens coming to study, with a 365,455 Tier 4 student visas handed out (53 per cent of the total given out across the entire EU). Meanwhile, 117,076 entered the UK - on a Tier 2 (General Visa) – for work, and a further 89,341 arrived in the country for family reasons.
UK has no official visa residence permit system
While Eurostat’s figures are based on the number of residence permits a country issues, the UK actually doesn’t have an official residence permits system. Instead, Eurostat calculated the number of UK visas issued as a comparison, which included work, study and family visas, while excluding visitors.
However, Home Office officials pointed out that UK visas do not indicate that an individual wants to remain in Britain – they purely specify for how long a non-EU national has the right to remain in the country. Visas cover those who plan to reside in the UK for a few weeks and those who want to stay for several years.
Other EU Countries have very different visa systems for visas for non-EEA nationals. It is not easy to compare visa statistics between the various Countries.
Eurostat’s analysis ranked Britain fifth for the number of visas issued by population – with 13.2 granted per 1,000 people in 2016. Malta (20.6), Cyprus (19.9), Poland (15.4) and Sweden (14.8) all ranked higher.
According to the Eurostat data, 21 per cent of UK visas granted were issued to US citizens, totalling 183,867. Meanwhile, 122,075 were awarded to Indian nationals and 103,248 were received by Chinese citizens.
A Home Office spokesperson was quick to dismiss Daily Mail’s findings, saying: “The UK does not issue residence permits so these figures cannot be accurately compared.”
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