UKIP Leader Nigel Farage said, "Today the ONS has put out near record figures on inward migration to the UK with a net figure of 323,000 arriving in the country, of which 260,000 are from EU countries. But this masks the grant of National Insurance numbers to EU nationals which as Jonathan Portes of the NIESR points out that "Official immigration stats say EU (gross) immigration to UK was 260.000. But 650,000 National Insurance number registrations over same period".
"That is treble the official Migration figures. They are pulling the wool over our eyes.
"The ONS migration figures use the International Passenger Survey to derive their figures, a survey that is regarded as deeply flawed but most responsible statisticians, the more accurate measure is the simple grant of National Insurance numbers. (NiNos).
"If as they claim only 260,000 EU nationals arriving, then how is it possible that 650,000 National Insurance Numbers have been given to foreign nationals?
"NiNos are a simple and clear reflection of the real numbers of people in this country, as without them you can neither legally work, nor claim benefits. They do miss out on the large numbers of illegal migrants in the country, but there are no real attempts by the Government to work out how many illegal migrants are here."