12:20 GMT06 March 2021
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    According to research by Migration Watch, there is a large and continuing discrepancy between the number of national insurance numbers issued to Eastern Europeans and immigration figures, which has led to an undercount. But how true is it that leaving the EU will curb immigration?

    Migration Watch had released a report Wednesday, that shows there may have been an undercount of the number of Eastern Europeans on UK soil.

    The organization have pointed to the fact that the number of National Insurance Numbers (NINOs), issued to Eastern Europeans and the immigration figures do not appear to add up, meaning that net migration could be 50,000 higher than the official figures, which would bring it to 220,000.

    While the UK imposes stringent visa requirements on economic migrants from outside Europe, the EU's freedom of movement principle means that no such controls can be applied to citizens from other EU states entering the UK for work.

    These claims and findings by Migration Watch come at a time when many are considering whether the UK should in fact remain within the EU, and shortly before the referendum, some are claiming that being in the EU only increases immigration.

    Many Brexiters are in agreement with Migration Watch and of course would welcome this analysis. They argue that the freedom of movement principle damages the UK economy and favors unskilled European workers over skilled workers from outside Europe.

    "[It] discriminates against precisely the sort of people who, in a world of increasing labor mobility, we might actually want to attract," UK Independece Party (UKIP) MP Douglas Carswell said.

    There are others echoing these comments, such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who is fighting for the UK to leave the EU. In a recent speech, Mr Farage warned that the UK will not be able to cope with the surge of migrants if it stays in the EU.

    Mr Farage believes that with the inclusion of Turkey in the EU will allow its population of 75 million to come to Britain and the millions of Syrian migrants will also arrive on British soil.

    However, others are not as convinced that leaving the EU will have such an impact on migration.

    Stephen Kinnock, British Labour MP for Aberavon believes that leaving the EU will not curb migration as we will still be under the EU free movement model.

    "I think if we leave the EU we will fit broadly into two buckets, one is what's generally called the 'Norway model,' the Swiss model is very close to it. Under the terms of the model, Norway is part of the European Economic Arena (EEA), which gives it access to the Single Market, so you have all the economic benefits of [EU Membership].

    "However part of the deal is that you must accept full movement of people. So Norway is actually in Schengen, even though it is not inside the European Union. So what is the point of Brexit?" Kinnock said.

    MP Kinnock highlights that the second model the UK could implement if it leaves the EU is a risky one.

    "The other model is the 'Canada model,' or it could be China, Singapore or any country which has a trading relationship with the EU but is not part of the Single Market. Now, you would have greater control of your boarders and do not have to accept free movement of people. But you would lose access to the Single Market and have to start creating trade agreements with every single one of the 27 members of the EU. This accounts for 50 per cent of our trade," he said.


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    visa regime, economic migrants, Brexit, workers, report, immigration, UK Referendum, Great Britain, Europe, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom
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