MigrationWatch's Chairman is Sir Andrew Green, a former British Ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Professor David Coleman, Professor of Demography at Oxford University, is an Honorary Consultant to MW on demographic matters but he does not speak on its behalf.
The purpose of the non-party MW is to provide the public with full and accurate facts on migration issues. It regards a reasonable flow of migration in both directions as a natural part of an open economy. It is, however, opposed to the present very high levels of immigration which will, on the government's own projections, add seven million to the population of England by 2031. This is nearly seven times the population of Birmingham.
While supporting the principle of asylum, MW is critical of the failure to remove those whose claims are rejected and opposes granting them an amnesty.
MW also provide research for the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration led by Frank Field MP (Labour) and Nicholas Soames MP (Conservative) which was established in September 2008. Read Nicholas Soames on this subject.
MW attach particular importance to their independence. They receive no public funds in any form, nor research contracts. They are financed entirely by donations from members of the public.
MW has been effective in this sensitive area of public debate by concerning itself with facts rather than emotion. Attempts to tarnish them as being sensationalist have not stood up.
It has scored some hits against the Labour Government. For instance in January 2008 the Statistics Commission, an independent watchdog, agreed that, excluding British citizens, the proportion of migrants from outside the EU was 68%, not 52% as ministers had claimed. This finding followed the Government being reported to the Statistics Commission by MW.
Often the estimates by MW have been denounced at the time but subsequently vindicated. In 2002 MW estimated that immigration would run at about two million per decade, including an allowance for illegal immigration. The official projection for legal immigration is now 1.9 million for the next decade.
In 2003 MW described the government's estimate of 13,000 immigrants from Eastern Europe as "almost worthless". It proved to be wrong by a factor of at least ten.
In 2004 MW pointed to the government's failure to remove failed asylum seekers. This led eventually to the Government's "tipping point" pledge – to deport more failed asylum seekers each month than the number of new invalid claims. Not that the pledge has been honoured.
In 2006 MW called attention to the failure to deport foreign prisoners. A year later a programme was put in place to correct this. In the same year MW calculated that the impact of immigration on household formation was 33%. This was denied by many, including the Town & Country Planning Association but has now been accepted by the government.
MW will focus on making known to the public the implications for our population of the present high levels of immigration – notably that the official projections show the population of the UK reaching seventy million in twenty years time, of which nearly 70% will be as a result of immigration.
Approximate budget and number of staff
The budget is not disclosed and the organisation is staffed entirely by volunteers.