Labour’s open-door policies–and not the promise of prosperity–were the main reason why immigration soared over the past 14 years, an academic inquiry found yesterday.
The report said ‘the increase in net immigration to the UK was not driven primarily by the economic performance of the UK or other countries’.
Instead, it pointed to immigration policies.
Changes introduced after Labour took power in 1997 included liberal approaches towards economic migrants claiming to be asylum seekers, the acceptance of migrants considered to have worthwhile skills, and the opening of the British jobs market to workers from Poland and Eastern Europe.
The report by academics from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the University of Leicester was based on the findings of large-scale official surveys of immigration. It was published by the Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society.
It said three-quarters of net immigration to Britain since the mid-1990s was a result of ‘structural change’ associated with government policies. The other quarter was driven by friends and families coming to join migrants already in Britain.
The study undermines the idea that the rosy-looking economy before the crash of 2007 and 2008 was the magnet that drew about 3million immigrants into the country over a decade.
This in turn means that, although thousands of businesses have benefited from hard-working and highly qualified migrants, it was not the needs of the economy that brought them into Britain.