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Migration level 'unlikely to fall'

Net migration is unlikely to fall much below current levels next year, a think-tank has predicted.

Increased immigration from European countries not covered by the Government's proposed immigration cap, along with a downward trend in emigration, will all lead to net migration staying around the 200,000 level in 2011, the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) said.

It warned that introducing "hasty measures" so the Government can try to fulfil its pledge of cutting net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015 would be damaging to the UK's economy.

Nick Pearce, ippr director, said: "Ministers must be careful to manage down public expectations.

"The cap on skilled migration from outside the EU, which the Government has already put in place, could hurt the economic recovery. Other hasty measures to reduce numbers artificially would be even more damaging.

"Bringing down the level of immigration, which has been high in recent years, is a legitimate policy goal.

"But this should be done by making long-term and sustainable reforms to the structure of our economy and labour market."

The ippr's Migration Review 2010/11 said that if the UK economy continued to recover, the number of people coming to the UK for work could increase.

From next April, the number of migrant workers coming to Britain from outside the EU will be cut by a fifth and capped at 21,700, but this is only expected to cut overall immigration by 2% or 3%.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We will exert steady downward pressure on immigration numbers through the course of this Parliament, which is the sensible way to deal with the uncontrolled immigration system we inherited."


From Belfast Telegraph