The myth about high levels of immigration

The news that Ireland now has the highest level of net emigration per 1,000 inhabitants of any country in Europe is naturally a matter of great concern for the Irish. I wouldn't want to detract from how serious that is in any way.


However what struck me about the graph above from An Sionnach Fionn is that net immigration into the UK is not particularly great. It is only just above the EU average, with twelve other European countries having greater, and sometimes far greater, levels of net immigration.

Denmark, Finland and Belgium have greater net immigration than the UK. Germany, Austria, Sweden, Lichenstein and Italy have net levels of immigration more than twice that of the UK. Malta has three times more. Switzerland and Norway have four times more. Luxembourg has more than eight times more.

The raw data are available here on EuroStat.

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Anonymous said...

Of course, we're never told the net migration out of Wales (mostly to England) are we. My guess is it is close to Irish levels.

There goes our future and with it the huge financial, cultural and from a Welsh language point of view, linguistic investment.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:24, isn't it time we asked our more talented youngsters why they are so keen to rid themselves of Wales and, to a large extent, all things Welsh.

Could it be that our huge investments in culture and the language are mis-directed, misappropriated and misguided?

Lyndon said...

Ooh, ooh, give me a minute Anonymous #2, let me think.........

It couldn't possibly be because there are very few decent jobs available for graduates in Wales, could it?

Nah.....stupid idea! It's because of the WELSH LANGUAGE and the SQUINTILLION POUNDS we spend every year FORCING IT DOWN PEOPLE'S THROATS.

Jac o' the North, said...

When times were good there was considerable immigration into Ireland, so I'd like to know how many of those now leaving are Irish citizens and how many are foreigners going home.

Anonymous said...

Lyndon, ask yourself why there are so few decent jobs here. Do you think England grows jobs in the same way Wales grows grass? Of course not.

Jobs come about because hard working people start business which grow and this growth hopefully leads to employment for others. Sometimes these business become mega-big, sometimes they collapse in a heap. And sometimes they get taken over by government, or sometimes the other way round.

Either way, to have a job means someone else must have created a need for that job. Hopefully someone other than local government, local quango, local third sector!

Now Lyndon, ask yourself why people move away to create businesses elsewhere, businesses that then go on to create jobs for people elsewhere. Or, ask yourself why those people who have previously moved away to find work, at some stage deciding to set up their own businesses, rarely, if ever, set them up in Wales.

Personally, I suspect it has little to do with the language itself. Nor the hullabaloo surrounding our new, magically romanticised history. But if we could devote just 10% of the time and effort we spend on such matters to the matter of business and job creation, we might well be able to transform this country into something worthwhile within a generation.

But less of my thoughts. What do you think?

Lyndon said...

Perhaps, Anon, people leave Wales to escape the incessant whingeing of people like you? Many Welsh people start businesses, if these become successful they are frequently bought up by our neighbours and their head offices and high-paying jobs moved to London. Thus Wales becomes what is known as a "branch-office economy."

The same effect is happening on a slower scale to the UK as a whole, as the Tories and their city chums flog off anything that isn't nailed down, so the English won't get to gloat for much longer.

MH said...

I'd have thought that a more obvious thing to discuss is why UKIP have used the fear of immigration, especially "uncontrolled immigration from the EU" as a major plank of their political platform when there is absolutely no basis for it. And worse, why other political parties are adapting their policies to that agenda.

I'd have perhaps noted that one of their current bogey countries, Romania, has net immigration ... which is hardly a sign of their people straining at the bit to get out and come to the UK.

I'd have thought that it might have helped us see things in a wider context, and realize that the countries of Britain are right in the centre of European experience on this, not isolated at the extreme end of it.

But sadly, no.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile The Daily Mail puts it's fingers in its ears and goes, "La, la, la la, la."

Anonymous said...

My original point wasn't to undermine your blog MH, jyst simply, we never get to see the figures of how many people leave Wales every year. It's not part of the political or cultural narrative here. So, whereas people in Wales know that Irish people are leaving Ireland to find work they never seem to think of it in the same way that people are leaving Wales to find work.

In many respects there's a great difference between leaving Ireland to work in England and leaving Wales to work in England. After all 'England' could be just 45 minutes down the road. But from the point of view of Welsh language and culture it's a huge issue.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:51, Not many of the types you are alluding to do actually go off in search of work 'overseas', as it were. Some yes, poorly educated manual workers and the like, but these folk invariably return 'home', often for unwelcome spells on welfare. Talented graduates, Welsh speaking graduates steeped in the long history and culture of Wales, don't tend to move. They manage to secure the better paying state sector jobs and, as we can see, our lives get worse because of this, not better. The other talented graduates, those that are less enmeshed in all matters 'Welsh' are the ones that we need to retain. But for some reason we cannot. And therein lies the problem. All the 'wrong' ones are staying in Wales and all the 'right' ones, the one's Wales needs at this time, are all jumping ship.

And look where this has got us. Yes, we can all communicate with each other in the language of Wales but, unfortunately, we haven't got much to say to each other. Well, nothing apart from 'there aren't any jobs'.

No matter how hard we try to use 'Welshness' to shackle our young, we will always find that we end up shackling the wrong ones. And, in the longer term this costs us and Wales dearly, as can now be seen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:51 - I don't think you know what your talking about.

I was trying to raise the issue of outmigration - making the point that we don't know how many leave. If Welshness and Welsh language is such a problem then why is 30% of the population of Wales English and jobs in Wales are underaken by English people?

That's it. You've killed this thread. Congratulations.

Lyndon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MH said...

That sort of language wasn't necessary, Lyndon.

MH said...

Although it isn't the main point of the post, it is not unreasonable to ask whether and to what degree the current outflow from Ireland is replicated in Wales. It's silly to say that we aren't told what the figures are. A comprehensive document on migration statistics within Wales, between Wales and the RUK, and between Wales and the rest of the world was published in March this year, and is available here.

The figures show that there is definitely not a net outflow from Wales. The opposite is true. These are the bullet points from the front page:

Total Migration
• Wales has experienced an estimated net inflow of migrants every year from mid-1998 to mid-2011, with an average net inflow of just over 9 thousand people per year. Annual net inflows have fluctuated though and decreased overall since 2006-07.

International Migration
• Wales had a net inflow of international migrants between 1994 and 2010.
• In 2011 there was a net outflow of international migrants for the first time since 1993, with those leaving exceeding those moving to Wales by around 1.5 thousand persons.

Migration with other parts of the UK
• For years ending mid-1999 to mid-2011 there was a net inflow of migrants to Wales from the rest of the UK of around 6.5 thousand people per year on average. Over this period the net inflow decreased from 14.4 thousand persons in year ending mid-2003 to 2.5 thousand in years ending mid-2010 and mid-2011.

Migration within Wales, by economic region
• On average the South West experienced a net inflow of migrants from the other regions of Wales while North Wales experienced a net outflow of migrants to the other regions of Wales between mid-2007 and mid-2011.

There's a wealth of additional detail, including age breakdowns; but language ability isn't included.

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