Report reveals UK immigration numbers expected to fall in 2012

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, an independent think-tank, predicted that the number of migrants coming to the UK from outside the EU will fall by about 10 per cent in 2012. The continuing financial crisis, in addition to the government's attempts to reduce the number of immigrants coming into the UK, is expected to lead to the decrease in immigrant numbers.

Although UK immigration numbers were lower in 2011 than in 2010, the numbers far exceed the government's original goal of reducing immigration to "tens of thousands", according to the report.

The report also gave a critical assessment of the government's approach to immigration numbers, stating that UK immigration's strategy to lower immigrant numbers is likely to harm any prospect of economic recovery. UK immigration policies identified as having a negative effect on the economy include attempts to reduce foreign student numbers. It is now more difficult to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. Fewer Students are now allowed to work in the UK. In addition, in April 2012 the Tier 1 Post-study work visa ends, which allows students to work in the UK for 2 years after their course ends. All these factors make the UK less attractive to overseas students and results in a reduction in Tier 4 visa student applicants.

If it is implemented something else that will affect UK immigration numbers is the proposed raising of the income threshold for those on a Tier 2 work visa applying for indefinite leave to remain to between £31,000 and £49,000. Even the Migration Advisory Committee, the organisation that made the recommendations, said the policy changes might "have a negative impact on GDP" and might discourage migrants from deciding to live in the UK on a Tier 2 visa.

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