Chris Bryant MP, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, commenting on immigration statistics released today, said:
“These figures show the Government’s complete failure to combat illegal immigration. The number of people caught and refused entry at the border has gone down by 15% in the last year, during which the Government abandoned checks on millions of people during last summer’s border fiasco.
“And the number of people found, caught and removed from the UK has gone down by 12%. Illegal immigration is of immense concern to the public and the Government needs to get a grip of this fast. At the moment it appears to be turning its back, cutting 6,500 staff from the UK Border Agency and letting our borders descend into chaos.
“Meanwhile the number of foreign offenders removed from the UK has reached its lowest level for 11 consecutive quarters. This Government is deporting fewer foreign criminals, stopping fewer people who shouldn’t be in the UK from coming in, and removing fewer people who should not be here. That is a serious failure of this Tory-led Government.”
“On net migration, rather than the Prime Minister's ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, this data shows it’s still going in the wrong direction.
“An increase of 15,000 people on the year, up to 250,000, shows the Government are yet to set out workable and deliverable policies to meet their pledge.
“And in the areas of work and study, where the majority of the Government’s changes have taken place, numbers are simply being moved around. So while students taking longer courses are down, student visitor visas which are not counted in net migration figures are up by over 10,000.
“Meanwhile the number of visas issued to foreign nationals coming to the UK on work transfers has also gone up.
“We need honesty and competence from this government on immigration, instead we get tough rhetoric not matched by the reality on the ground. The country deserves better than that.”