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Policies on migration are being made ‘in the dark’ warns committee

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee has warned Whitehall that it will continue to struggle to cope with the influx of migrants if does not improve the accuracy of the data on which it bases its policies on. The committee chairman Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said in a recent statement ‘The Government must have reliable statistics on migration before it formulates a new policy, otherwise, it will be making crucial decisions of vital importance to the country’s businesses in the dark,’. The Committee’s report on the International Passenger Survey (IPS) which calculates the number of migrants entering and leaving the country describes their findings as ‘unreliable’ and the Government should invest in producing accurate data on the movement of people.

The current method the IPS use to produce their data is by collecting data via interviews of passengers at 19 major and regional airports. It also includes 8 ports and the rail link at the Channel link.

The Committee claims this method is not representative of all groups as the sample size is too small and has a distinctly large margin of error. It calls for drastic changes such as the Government using information surrounding economic activity for example taxes or claiming benefits to determine how long migrants stay in the UK.

It has also suggested that businesses should aim to train those who already live in the UK instead of traditionally looking for workers from the EU. One member said, ‘Some firms will need to raise wages to attract domestic workers. In other sectors, where migrant workers may not easily be replaced by domestic workers, firms will need to change their business models or increase capital investment in automated processes. This is a good suggestion and the Government should take this comment into account. To conclude it seems to hope for ‘Good Brexit’ is out of the equation without better intelligence services. The Government should take a different stance in retrieving data if it is to solely rely on immigration on its future policies with the EU.