The ONS has slapped down the Government after it was requested they delay the publication of immigration figures on Thursday.
Rishi Sunak and others are reportedly concerned that figures from the official statistics body may show those entering the UK in the year to June 2023 exceeded 700,000, which would be a new record high.
Now the Government is worried that the figures will knock coverage of what they are hoping is a feel-good tax-cutting Autumn Statement off the front pages.
Despite hopes migration may have fallen over the last year, it now looks like the Government is on course to have totally failed in controlling the borders once again.
Last year’s figure of 606,000 would be blown out of the water by a hike to 700,000.
Despite an expected fall in the number of Ukrainian and Hong Kong refugees, Home Office figures show a 50 percent increase in the number of foreign nationals who have successfully applied to extend their permission to stay in the UK.
105,000 people received visa extensions for work, studying or family reasons in the first six months of this year.
This morning the Sun revealed that the Government asked the ONS to delay releasing the provisional immigration figures, timetabled for this Thursday, to avoid clashing with Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday.
However, the ONS has now slapped the request down and confirmed it intends to push ahead with publishing the embarrassing statistics on Thursday morning.
In May, the Express revealed that the respected Centre for Policy Studies were predicting a 700,000 influx in 2022, only for the ONS to tweak their methodology and reduce figures closer to 600,000.
At the time, a senior former Tory minister said that 700,000 would signify the Home Office was losing control” of both the small boats crisis and legal net migration.
A Red Wall Tory MP said: “Time is fast running out. Sorting out legal migration and ending the small boats crisis will be the difference between us winning and losing.”
Yesterday it emerged immigration minister Robert Jenrick is pushing to increase the minimum salary required by migrants from £26,200 to £30,000, in a move to restrict low-skilled immigration.
However, this figure is still well below the median UK salary of £33,000.
Earlier this year, the right-wing New Conservatives caucus of MPs called for the salary threshold to be hiked to £38,000, but even this will only reduce the net migration figures by 54,000 per year.