Anti-migration group retracts post-Brexit immigration report

PUBLISHED: 09:55 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 14 February 2019

Border control at Heathrow Airport. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA.

Border control at Heathrow Airport. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

The anti-migration “think tank” Migration Watch UK has pulled a report on post-Brexit immigration levels after the organisation admitted an “error in calculations”.

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It claimed net migration to the UK could increase by more than 100,000 under the government’s proposed new immigration system.

The organisation - which describes itself as an “independent and non-political think tank” - said: “We have decided to withdraw the paper issued today on post-Brexit migration levels.

“There was an error in the calculations which was unfortunately overlooked at the final stages of preparation.

“We apologise for the error and will rectify it in the course of producing a revised version.”

The statement did not give details of which figures are affected by the error.

Yesterday The New European published an online story about the since-discredited report.

Although this was based on an article written by our wire service, the Press Association, this was an error on our part. We do not share the beliefs of Migration Watch and have deleted the article. TNE regret publishing it in the first instance.

As initially reported, the Home Office contested the report’s claims, describing them as “inaccurate and untrue”.

The retracted paper focused on the government’s proposals for immigration after Brexit.

Under the proposals, outlined in a long-awaited white paper in December, a new temporary work route will be created, the annual cap on skilled work visas will be scrapped, and employers wanting to sponsor overseas employees will no longer be required to carry out a “resident labour market test”.

Net long-term migration - the difference between the numbers arriving and leaving with an intention to stay for at least 12 months - stood at an estimated 273,000 in the year to June 2018, according to the latest official figures.

Migration Watch UK’s original report claimed the figure could increase to around 380,000 a year if the white paper proposals are introduced.

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