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Migration stats 'a best guess'

Official migration statistics are "not fit for purpose" and leave assessments of the Government's progress in reducing net migration as "little better than a best guess", according to a scathing report.

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New ways to gather migration figures 'needed'

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) migration estimates contain no information on the immigration status of migrants while statistics produced by the Home Office do not indicate the number of visa holders with valid leave to remain in the UK, a new report suggests.

Although the ONS, which uses the research to draw up its migration estimates, has "done its best" to produce informative statistics, the survey "is not fit for the purposes to which it is put" and ministers must find new ways to gather information, MPs said.

According to ONS figures earlier this year:

  • In the year to June 2012, immigration was estimated at 515,000 while emigration was estimated at 352,000.
  • Some 163,000 migrants came to the UK in the year to June 2012, down from 247,000 in the previous year.
  • Some 117,000 immigrants from New Commonwealth countries arrived in the UK in the year to June, down 30%.
  • A total of 62,000 immigrants arrived from countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, down 27%.

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