The Prime Minister David Cameron famously made a “no ifs, no buts” promise that his Government would reduce net annual immigration to the UK (the number of people coming to the UK minus the number leaving) to less than 100,000 by the time of the next General Election, which will be on 7 May 2015.
Bearing in mind that official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that net migration for the year ending September 2014 was 298,000, it does not require a deep statistical analyst to see that this target will be spectacularly missed.
A major factor in this was high migration from EU countries which, because of European free movement laws, the British Government cannot do anything about: EU and EEA nationals cannot be refused entry at the UK border.
This is not going to be very helpful for the Conservative Party at the General Election, especially with UKIP (the UK Independence Party) snapping at its heels on the immigration issue.
We therefore suspect that in the election campaign the Conservatives will rely on their promise of an “in-out” referendum on UK’s membership of the EU. Time will tell.