Migration Watch report-not reliable

    December 19th 2010, 4:31am - Posted by Administrator

  • Lately, there has been predominant uproar and fury in the media about the illegal immigration and bogus students entering the UK and many government ministers have raised their voice against it. A part of that was a report published this week by Migration Watch UK which was widely reported in the media and spurred debates.

    Migration Watch UK, which is also considered a pressure group, claimed in the report that bogus students, who are working illegally, have cost the taxpayer around £500m annually. However, there are people in the media who have challenged the numbers Migration Watch UK quoted and the claimed they have made about bogus students. An article published in Guardian.co.uk has challenged the data Home Office released which the Migration Watch UK's report is based on. The author of the article claims that Home Office data was not collected and released under any compliance thus carry good chances of being not accurate. Moreover, the report estimates on all those applied and entered the UK on student visa. The report did not take into account the students who had left the country before or after expiring their visa, it has assumed that all the students who entered the UK, have stayed in the country after the expiration of their visa.

    The pressure group also claimed in the report that bogus students are causing unemployment since each illegal student has displaced a British from work by working at low wages. However, truth of the matter is that the UK still has shortage of skilled work force. Illegal students would have also gone to industries and economic sections where existing workers were not enough to meet the demand and they have filled that. Migration Watch was not able to include these facts into its main content of the report.

    Another fact of the report was challenged which assumes that illegal workers do not pay taxes. It also assumes that illegal workers do not pay insurance. The data released from the Home Office is so poor in quality, that any report based on that cannot be deemed factual. The pressure group could have also assumed that because illegal workers were not entitled for any benefits, their wages would have been a substantial part of savings in the country.

    The fact is that the current data of Home Office cannot be trusted and taken into account to draw any factual inferences. Loopholes in the visa systems and education are certainly needed to be tackled. As the author of the article urges, any group like Migration Watch can legitimately raise the issue in public for debate but quoting hollow and eye catching figures to attract attention is not the right approach to do so.

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