Ministers tasked with drafting immigration rules are often using “woefully inadequate” data to draft policy, it has been suggested.
The House of Lords’ influential Economic Affairs Committee last month warned that the current figures available to legislators did not give an accurate impression of the actual number of people entering or leaving the UK.
This meant that key policy discussions – including the current debate to determine how borders should be controlled following Britain’s departure from the EU – were being conducted based on false assumption.
If ministers are to be better informed, Peers believe there needs to be a fundamental review of how figures are collated.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who chairs the Economic Affairs Committee, said: “The Government must have reliable statistics on migration before it formulates new policy, otherwise it will be making crucial decisions – of vital importance to the country’s businesses – in the dark.
“It will take companies time to adapt their business models to be less dependent on EU workers and an implementation period is essential to ensure a smooth transition.”
The intervention comes at a key moment, with ministers currently revising immigration policies ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU in 2019. A White Paper is expected later this year and a Bill is scheduled to go before Parliament in 2018.
Peers are also concerned by the Government’s attempts to place strict targets on immigration, citing previous commitments to reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands.
If you are an individual or business who requires advice on the possible implications for immigration laws, or would like assistance with a residence or naturalisation application, please contact Kate Boguslawska or Aleksandra Kowalska.