Whoops! UK Govt Statistics Office Undercounted EU Migration by 240,000 by Jack Montgomery for Breitbart
Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has admitted its own figures underestimated long-term migration between 2009 and 2016 by almost a quarter of a million.
The statistical agency discovered the error after examining Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data and comparing it to their own estimates based on the International Passenger Survey (IPS), according to The Times.
Britons are often surprised to learn that the country’s migration statistics are not measured by counting people in and out of the country and monitoring their length of stay etc., but through a clipboard-based survey originally devised in the 1960s to guesstimatetourism and business travel trends.
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A relatively small number of people — measured in thousands, while the number of people entering and leaving the United Kingdom is in the hundreds of millions — are approached at a relatively small number of entry points to Britain, at certain times of day, and asked for information about where they come from, why they are coming, and how long they intend to stay, with the ONS extrapolating its immigration statistics from the answers they receive.
Travellers are under no obligation to speak to the surveyors, and the honesty of their answers has to be taken on faith — so that “it is possible for migrants to enter on short-term visas and — unless they notify the authorities of their intention to stay longer or are really, really unlucky and are picked up in a Border Force raid — stay in the UK or leave the country years later without showing up in the official records”, according to the BBC.
The ONS believes its estimates will become more accurate as comparing IPS estimates to data held by government departments becomes more standard — and indeed its figures could be revised yet again once more information has been analysed.