Every day, the chaos on Kent’s beaches is a reminder of how chaotic our asylum-immigration system has become. It was something that some of us knew.

This month will mark 20 years since the founding of Migration Watch. It was a tiny think tank that sought to present the facts about immigration so the general public could understand them.

Since 2000, we have warned repeatedly about the dangers of Brexit and how to avoid them. Now it is clear that we were correct every single time.

However, it is clear that powerful forces have worked, such as corporate greed and political sleight-of-hand. We are now where we were.

The shambles on the beaches of Kent are a daily reminder of the growing chaos in our asylum and immigration system, writes Lord Green of Deddington

Lord Green of Deddington writes that the shambles at the Kent beaches are an everyday reminder of the increasing chaos in the asylum-immigration system.

David Coleman (Professor of Demography at Oxford University) wrote a letter to The Times in which he warned of the rising housing demand that would be triggered by increased immigration.

During my 35 years in the Foreign Service – concluding with a posting as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia – I, too, had become aware of weaknesses in our immigration system. Professor Coleman was my contact and we discussed ways to make the system more transparent.

It was Migration Watch that emerged in December 2001.

The Labour government was very critical at that time and Left-wing journalists attacked and even ridiculed us. After three successful legal proceedings, they became much more cautious.

It was not an accident that immigration has grown in such a large way. 

We were correct. We were correct in 2002 when we predicted that non-EU net immigration would reach two million by the end of the decade. Cue howls. However, the Office for National Statistics changed the numbers to 2.1million.

According to a 2003 Home Office study, East European migration from Poland and Czech Republic amounts to between 5,000- 13,000 annually.

We described these estimates as ‘almost worthless’. The inflow was actually 72,000 per year.

Something similar happened with immigration from Romania and Bulgaria between 2014 and 2020 – low official estimates were followed by huge numbers in reality.

Pictured: Yesterday's arrivals bring the total number to 4,019, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September


We estimated that the illegal migration population was just above a million in 2010, a shocking fact which we later confirmed by an ex-head of the UK Border Agency, now renamed UK Visas and Immigration.

How can it be that the political system has failed to act?

Important to remember that immigration’s massive growth was not an accident. Andrew Neather (a speechwriter for Tony Blair) would explain later.

In a 2009 article for the Evening Standard, he wrote: ‘It didn’t just happen. From late 2000 to at most February of last year, the deliberate policy adopted by Ministers [2008]… was to open up the UK to mass immigration. Barbara Roche (then Immigration Minister) gave the historic speech in September 2000 calling for the loosening up of restrictions. This marked a significant shift in policy from previous governments. Previously, foreigners who were accompanied by relatives living in the UK weren’t allowed to set up residence here.

England is the largest large country and most populous in Europe.

‘The earlier drafts I saw [of the Cabinet Office paper on immigration]It also had a driving political goal: That mass immigration was the only way the Government would make the UK truly multicultural. These were the dramatic results. The UK granted 55,000 immigrants the right to settle here in 1995. This number had increased to 179,000 by 2005.

‘Partly by accident, partly by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom. But Ministers wouldn’t talk about it. It wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.’

It is.

It was possible that there was also a political motivation. Exit polls indicate that 64% and 77% of voters from ethnic minorities voted for Labour during the General Elections in 2017 and 2019.

The Conservative years of rule were marked by repeated promises about reducing net migration. Tory manifestos in 2010, 2015 and 2017 all pledged to bring down the total to the level of the 1990s – from between 177,000 and 350,000 per year down to the tens of thousands.

All of these promises never came true. Why?

Whitehall had many departments that wanted to hire migrant labor.

The Treasury under George Osborne was strongly in favour of immigration to ‘bolster’ the economy, while big business was profiting from the low-wage workforce that immigrants provided.

Next month marks 20 years since I founded Migration Watch, a small think-tank aiming to set out the facts on immigration in a way the public would understand. Pictured: Lord Green

This month will mark 20 years since the founding of Migration Watch. It was a tiny think tank that sought to present the facts about immigration so the general public could understand them. Lord Green

Many of these companies were and are still important contributors for Conservative Party funds. We need to see more light on this.

Theresa May became the Home Secretary in an era of such large numbers. She was overwhelmed by demands for the Brexit negotiations when she became Prime Minister.

It has had devastating consequences. Over the last 20 years net foreign immigration averaged around 300,000 per year. Eight million people have moved to the UK, an increase of 84% due to immigration and children from immigrants.

However, England is the country that 90 percent of EU immigrants choose to visit. It’s also the largest and most populous large country.

Due to the lower birth rate of certain immigrants, and their older age structure, this has become a more prevalent situation. A little over a third of all births are now with at least one foreign parent.

Figures from the House of Commons Library show that 37 per cent of London’s population was born outside the UK – which roughly equates to 3.3 million people.

How many times has the public been consulted on such a drastic change?

Answer: Never.

That is why, according to polling this year, 54 per cent of the public, or about 30 million adults, believe immigration has been too high over the past decade and should be reduced – a sentiment the BBC and other national broadcasters studiously ignore.

Clearly there is still much for Migration Watch under its new Chairman Alp Mehmet. He was born in Cyprus and is a former British Ambassador.

Our Government should first alert the public about the real situation. No matter their background, voters must be able to see that this situation cannot continue. This is a key step towards achieving an integrated society.

Then we must overhaul the Government’s points-based system for work permits. Ministers describe it as ‘Australian-style’ because the phrase has polled well with focus groups. It is only Australian in its name.

People from all over the world will be able to apply for seven million jobs in the British version. Seven million jobs, with no limit on how many work permits are granted and no obligation to offer any jobs first to British applicants.

This is madness, and it must stop. This is a serious error and we need to look beyond the capital, especially to Red Wall constituencies for MPs to fix it.

Asylum, however, is another matter.

The number of asylum seekers we have received each year is approximately 40,000 (including dependents), and this trend is rapidly increasing. If we don’t reach an agreement with France, the Channel crossings will be a very difficult problem. I strongly urge you to make that happen.

It is hard to ignore the evidence of 20 years worth of warnings that are evident on our beaches.

And that, for all his promises, Boris Johnson has utterly failed to ‘take back control’.