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Subject Confirmed: The official EU to UK migration statistics published from the year 2000 onwards were FALSE
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Original Message EU migration to UK 'underestimated' by ONS

The level of migration from the EU to the UK has been underestimated by the Office for National Statistics from the mid-2000s to 2016.

The ONS said the error affected the number of migrants from eight of the countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland.

It said it may have also overstated migration from non-EU countries.

As a result, the status of the immigration figures compiled by the ONS has been downgraded to "experimental".

Immigration experts at the University of Oxford said the latest ONS analysis showed official data has been "systematically underestimating net migration from EU countries".

The ONS said new analysis showed that in 2015-16, EU net migration - the difference between people arriving and leaving - was 16% higher (29,000) than first thought.

The admission by the ONS - 24 hours before the latest immigration statistics are published - that its figures have been wrong for over a decade is acutely embarrassing for a body which prides itself on accuracy and reliability.

It adds to growing doubts from a number of experts about the methods it has been using, while the decision to downgrade the status of its figures to "experimental" - which is a kind-of kitemark - raises serious questions about whether future immigration statistics can be trusted.

The regulator says there's "significant uncertainty" about the estimates since 2016, the year of the EU referendum.

That's partly because EU citizens arriving in the UK, who are interviewed for the passenger survey on which the figures are based, may themselves be unclear as to whether or not they'll stay in Britain for at least 12 months, the cut-off point for inclusion in the immigration data.

More: [link to www.bbc.co.uk (secure)]
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