Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Migration to Britain will fall sharply this year ‘but it won’t hit PM’s target’

Immigration to Britain will fall sharply this year, a think-tank said yesterday – but not by enough to meet the Prime Minister’s target. The Institute for Public Policy Research claimed that net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving in the UK, and those leaving – would be cut from a record 252,000 in 2010 to 180,000.

But the figure falls short of David Cameron’s commitment to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ during the lifetime of the current Parliament, it said.

The IPPR, considered New Labour’s favourite think-tank, claimed the best hope of fulfilling the pledge was for an economic downturn to make the country less attractive to migrants and drive away EU migrants already here.

Its report predicted that the number of migrants coming to the UK from outside the EU would fall by about 10 per cent in 2012, fuelled by new restrictions on foreign students and worsening economic conditions. But the IPPR said further curbs on skilled migrants coming to the UK were unlikely to reduce overall numbers by more than 10,000. More restrictions on family migration were also likely to have little immediate effect as they are expected to be held up by legal challenges.

Matt Cavanagh of the IPPR said: ‘While policy changes will start to achieve significant reductions in immigration from outside the EU, this will not be enough to put the Government on track to hit its target.’

But Immigration Minister Damian Green insisted the Government’s aspirations could still be achieved. ‘The IPPR’s predicted reduction in net migration of 70,000 by the end of 2012 is consistent with hitting our target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament,’ he said.

‘We’ve limited non-EU workers coming to the UK, overhauled the student visa system and will shortly announce reforms of the family migration and settlement routes.’

Mr Green added: ‘The latest quarterly figures show that student visas issued are down 13 per cent and the main work visas issued are down 18 per cent compared with last year – an early sign that our policies are starting to take effect.’

Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of the pressure group MigrationWatch, said: ‘The fact is that the Government is on course but has a very long way to go.’


Alabama Immigration Law, section nine now in effect

With several changes to Alabama's immigration law since Governor Robert Bentley signed it in June 2011, businesses contracting with any governmental agency, must now register with a federal system called e-verify. It allows them to check employees' immigration status.

"What we are going to require is that each business sign a document saying they've e-verified their employees. They must sign it with the city saying they are complying with the federal law," said Finance Director with the city of Auburn, Penny Smith.

This new portion of the law falls under section nine. An example of someone needing to register with e-verify is a contractor doing road work, or sewer work for an Alabama city.

"What we are asking is that the construction company give us an affidavit and that affidavit specifically state in it that they are in compliance with the law, and they are going to start using e-verify," said Smith.

The bill was set to go into effect on September first, but lawsuits filed by civil-rights groups delayed it going into effect.

"For Alabama companies it may not be as big of a deal, but when you're dealing with companies out-of-state or international, this may be difficult for them to administer," Smith said.

All business owners in the state of Alabama will have to register with e-verify by April first.


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