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Are immigration numbers set to fall in the UK?

While only a few days ago the UK government was still adamant there had been no mistakes with regards to its immigration program, Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, has over the last 24 hours admitted that the government has not handled the immigration issue as well as it could have. He was openly critical of his predecessors amid suggestions that the Labour Party undertook a massive immigration program purely and simply to introduce a multicultural society to the UK.

Interestingly, as we approach the general election, the UK government has reiterated the fact that limits on UK bound Bulgarian and Romanian workers will remain intact until 2011 despite the fact the government sees no harm in immigrants entering the UK employment market. This comes just days after news that £24 million in child benefit is being paid to families overseas from the likes of Poland, Slovenia and other new entrants to the European Union - many of whom have never set foot in the UK.

Unfortunately, there is very little of the UK government can do because of the freedom of movement within Europe and the ability of members of the European population to apply for work and benefits in any European member state. Immigration is an issue which will not go away and one which could make or break the next UK election.

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