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to think the Migration news story is utter bilge?

(46 Posts)
TalkinPeace Thu 27-Feb-14 23:12:15

BBC version here
UK ports and airports do not issue exit stamps : so there is no record of the number of people actually leaving.

The numbers arriving I assume include people who got their UK passports in the year.
At my citizenship ceremony, many of us had been in the UK for many, many years before getting our passports so including us in that years' figures was a lie.

The UK keeps no records of how many legal migrants there are on "indefinite leave to remain" visas.

So why do they make up the spurious numbers, other than to play into the hands of bigots like UKIP?

TrevaronGirl Thu 27-Feb-14 23:14:14

"UK ports and airports do not issue exit stamps"

But they do record the numbers...

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 27-Feb-14 23:16:25

I got confused about this too. I'm in Canada but the dates I left the UK; became a permanent resident; stopped paying UK tax and; become a citizen were or are all different dates. How do they count me leaving?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 27-Feb-14 23:16:53

I left the UK on a tourist visa, never to live there again. Do I get counted?

TalkinPeace Thu 27-Feb-14 23:18:23

But they do record the numbers...
yes, but that includes holidaymakers and commuters in with the "migrants"

HettiePetal Thu 27-Feb-14 23:28:58

Why does it have to be utter bilge?

The issue for me is whether it actually matters that we have that many people coming in. I don't think it does - actually I think it's a great thing overall.

iloverainbows Fri 28-Feb-14 00:11:33

The figures in isolation are pretty meaningless. I think what is important for the UK is the type of people that are arriving and the type leaving. Always happy to be proven wrong however I would guess that generally the people leaving are pretty well qualified and have a lot to offer. It would be quite easy ti get a general feel for this by tracking where people are going. I expect the most popular destinations are Oz, NZ, Canada and Dubai. These countries only let you in if you have sufficient points or money i.e something to offer. On the other hand the UK, even with massive unemployment and no jobs to offer, lets anyone and his dog in.

wobblyweebles Fri 28-Feb-14 00:13:11

>"UK ports and airports do not issue exit stamps"

>But they do record the numbers...

How do they know whether people were leaving for a holiday or forever?

AgaPanthers Fri 28-Feb-14 00:29:53

It's not bilge. We have near record numbers coming here, and no houses being built for them.

Why would you assume it's bilge, they have statisticians working on this, they don't make it up, the methodology isn't random, it's the same as last year, and the numbers are up.

That might be inconvenient, but it certainly accords with what I see.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 28-Feb-14 00:33:39

So Aga you tell me how they count me. I don't know when or how they would. I left as a tourist, no record would have been made. I am now applying for citizenship here but I don't know that Canada tells the UK when they give me it. I have also been living and working here for years now, when did I get counted? Or do I get counted later? Or, what I suspect, they cobble together a number form looking at how many leave and how many come back (i.e. crap stats).

Theodorous Fri 28-Feb-14 08:07:34

I left on a one way ticket ten years ago and my GP refuses to deregister me despite me saying i have insurance, avoid visiting the UK like the plague and have stopped paying tax and NI except on rental income. They seem adamant to accept that i am not resident. Idiots.

Theodorous Fri 28-Feb-14 08:07:58

not to accept

dontcry Fri 28-Feb-14 08:57:00

I guess thet count the numbers going out and the numbers coming in to get a net figure

AgaPanthers Fri 28-Feb-14 10:43:10

I don't know how they count you MrsTerryPratchett. I daresay the numbers are not 100% accurate, but the trends should be.

nickymanchester Fri 28-Feb-14 12:09:13

They measure this primarily by two large surveys.

First of all there's the International Passenger Survey which questions a million people per year entering and leaving the country. Then there is also the Labour Force Survey which covers people living in the UK.

These are the two main sources. However things like National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals and other labour market statistics are also used.

BackOnlyBriefly Fri 28-Feb-14 12:23:57

Oh I get it now. This isn't really about the numbers leaving it's so you can cast doubt on all the figures.

There is no downside of course to having more people moving here. It's like a cardboard box. You all know that if you put a cardboard box on your kitchen table you can keep putting things in it forever. It never gets full.

AgaPanthers Fri 28-Feb-14 12:27:12

Yes it's just sticking fingers in ears isn't it.

Never mind evidence from census data, changes in shops, the people you see around you, even government statistics are a secret racist conspiracy, when you live in la-la land.

SuitedandBooted Fri 28-Feb-14 12:48:22

YANBU, - the official figures for the population, counting in/out, ARE utter bilge, but not for the reason you suggest. The real figures are much higher.
Recording consumption of services and goods is the only realistic way to calculate how many people are actually living on these islands - as they say, you can only eat one lunch and one dinner!
This article makes for some very sobering reading:

AgaPanthers Fri 28-Feb-14 13:01:51

Yes I presume the census doesn't include the likes of these:

Wigeon Fri 28-Feb-14 13:04:28

The migration figures are not based on an absolute count of all the people going out and all the people coming in - as various posters have said, there is currently not a way of doing this reliably, and knowing for what purpose people are travelling (ie are they British citizens going on holiday, or people emigrating here permanently). So instead, they do a massive survey (the International Passenger Survey mentioned (IPS) above), and a load of clever statisticians estimate overall numbers from that. You might have heard of the eBorders programme, which is intended to give a more precise count of who's coming in and who's going out, but that won't be live for a while, and won't ask people as many detailed questions as the IPS does.

If you are interested in understanding more about the politicians' claims around migration statistics, read this report from a cross-party group of MPs, published last summer. There is a helpful explanation from para 5 onwards about how the statistics are drawn up. And if you read the report, there are plenty of things which are concerning about the stats, but you can't claim they are completely made up, as your OP suggests.

Wigeon Fri 28-Feb-14 13:14:40

SuitedandBooted - I think you are confusing the migration figures in the news yesterday with overall population count. The migration figures related to long-term international migration - the definition of which is someone switching countries for 12 months or more. So the migration figures don't count anyone who is here for less than 12 months (eg people on holiday, or people here working for, say, 6 months). The census counts the total population on any one day.

The Independent article you linked to is quite old (2007), and pre-dates the most recent census in 2011, which was more accurate than the one in 2001.

The Government and the Office for National Statistics are well aware of the incompleteness in the census count, and since 2011 ONS have been doing a big programme of work on how we count the population in England and Wales (Scotland and N Ireland is devolved for this issue). I don't think anyone in central or local government is under any illusion that the census actually counts every single person in the country. Their recent consultation on what the future of the census should be sets out the issues, if you'd like to find out more.

TalkinPeace Fri 28-Feb-14 13:18:10

I've never filled out a survey.
I arrived in the UK as a child and was given ILR status so have never had a visa.
I got my NHS number when I started school.
I was given my UK NI number at 16.
I became British last year.
I still have my forrin passport.
Which year will they count as me immigrating?

TalkinPeace Fri 28-Feb-14 13:19:51

The biggest problem relating to foreigners and housing is the frankly offensive number of "investment properties" being bought up by the super rich in London and left to rot, when they could provide housing for thousands of families currently on the council's registers.

Wigeon Fri 28-Feb-14 13:32:21

TalkinPeace - the point is that the migration figures are an estimate based on a survey. So you, as an individual, are not counted as such. A sample of people are stopped at air / sea ports and asked questions about why they are travelling, and the figures from that survey are aggregated up into estimates of overall migration. It is very very possible that most migrants have never filled in a survey.

And there is very detailed guidance for the people who carry out the survey on how to count someone like you. You can even read the "International Passenger Survey" handbook for interviewers who carry out the survey yourself, if you like. Bear in mind that survey is done at air / sea ports, so at the point of entering / leaving the country, not whilst a migrant is in-country (eg when they get their NI number, to quote one of your examples).

This isn't to say that there aren't big uncertainties and even flaws in the numbers - there are. See the report I linked to above.

It would be helpful if people who don't know anything about this issue would perhaps stop and think that maybe the statisticians and policy makers in government have possibly thought about some of these issues (eg the census doesn't count squatters, how can we know who is coming in / going out of the country since we don't count everyone at point of entry etc), and the systems we have in place are (a) a best attempt and (b) not perfect.

blessedhope Fri 28-Feb-14 13:33:47

^YANBU there talkin ! The multi-millionaires, most of whom are fiscally conservative and socially liberal [i.e. self-interested] buy up the houses, the poor and minorities are left to suffer and right wing demagogues then blame immigration. A kyriarchal mess.

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