It is believed that the number of EU-based immigrants who moved to the UK between 1997 and 2010 has been undercounted by around half a million.
In May, it is claimed by some groups, the Office of National Statistics compared the results of the 2011 census with the population that they had expected to find on the basis of births, deaths and official immigration figures, only to find the numbers didn’t match.
If proved to be true, it would mean that four million EU immigrants arrived in the UK between mid-1997 and mid-2010, rather than the 3.4 million recorded.
Migrationwatch UK has written to the UK Statistics Authority to insist the ONS revises the official immigration numbers for the period. “This new information underlines the scale of the task faced by the present Government in getting the [immigration] numbers down,” said Migrationwatch’s Chairman Sir Andrew Green. “There is no point in burying bad news in obscure documents. That simply destroys trust. It is hard to think of set of statistics that is more important to the public.
“For the sake of public confidence in Government statistics there must be a thorough revision of the immigration statistics and the new figures must be published without delay.”
However, the ONS insists that it has not refused to revise the official figures and says that it has already amended the population estimates series which incorporates the net migration findings from the 2011 Census.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the UK had become the number one destination for EU immigrants, having overtaken the previous favourite, Germany.